rial sounds flowed from that dewy mouth; melodies and harmonies, akin to the day itself, voiced the progress of the clouds; and while she told her incommunicable delight there was actually no one to say 'Stella, will you stop that 'umming?' Michael could not compete with his sister in her interpretation of the clouds' courses. He had, indeed, tried once or twice; but Stella either stopped abruptly, leaving him to lag for a while with a lame tune of his own, or else she would burst into tears. Michael preferred an inspiration more immediately visual to Stella's incomprehensibly boundless observations. Michael would enjoy holding in his hand a bunch of blue cornflowers; Stella would tear them to pieces, not irritably, but absently in a seclusion of spacious visions. On this occasion Michael paid no attention to Stella's salutation of light; he was merely thankful she showed no sign of wishing to be amused by 'peep-bo,' or by the pulling of curious faces. Both these diversions were dangerous to Michael's peace o
There are school stories, and then there is this one. Comprising the first three of four books, it is a full order of magnitude longer and more detailed than any other. Better? It would depend on what the reader wants of a school story.
Book IV, beginning half-way through volume 2, does perhaps qualify as a bildungsroman if one can start with a twenty-three year-old college grad of independent means. Using the most preposterous pretext, this young man determines to plumb the depths of the very worst of London society prefatory to marrying a whore, his ex-girlfriend. Neither is this the most implausible non-sequitur of the story.
That said, this is entertaining and well-written. Eerily reminiscent (or prefiguring?) Lawrence Durrell's Alexandria Quartet in both style and substance.