Williams Sansom's quite extraordinary characters are mostly picked from the so-called 'ordinary' people who might live in any London street. We bump into a gang of window-cleaners gone wild in the Spring, a couple of tipsy fishmongers, a lovelorn housewife and her impassioned grocer at the bacon counter, a playful milkman outwitting his ulcers.
There are 'little' people seen big. There is in all of them a spirit of fated heroism - comic and tragic in equal doses, as in life. Alongside go tenderly nostalgic passages, such as Like Yesterday, a love affair told from the faded writing of Edwardian postcards; and what is perhaps the strongest account in the book, Old Man Alone, the epic of a truly heroic old man and his uncomplaining fight with a most peculiar kind of adversity, in a room, alone.