The story opens in the late summer of 1955. Nineteen-year-old Harry Preston, having been granted an early discharge from national service with the RAF, moves to London from a small English provincial town to find life and adventure. Fancying himself as a writer, he drifts towards the central district of Soho, and soon enough he is included in the destitute but creative environment of the new Beat Generation. Harry meets an out of work actor, James Street. Street introduces Harry to the bohemian way of life and the novel recounts their misadventures. Harry travels upwards through this new world of wannabe artists, poets and writers, that have set up camp in the bohemian and not so posh 50s Soho and Notting Hill, he begins to slowly understand his role in this world.
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