In "Babel Tower" a cast of striking characters play out their personal dramas amid the clashing politics, passionate ideals and stirring languages of the early 1960s. Frederica (the heroine of "Virgin in the Garden" and "Still Life") now teaching English at an art college, is hiding herself and her son Leo from a violent husband; her urge towards freedom later leads to an angry, humiliating divorce case. Hers is not the only struggle; her friend Jude writes a novel, "Babbletower," which is tried for obscenity; her broth in law Daniel becomes involved in new movements for London's poor and distressed. Their crises mirror those of the age-abroad, this is the decade of the Berlin Wall, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the death of J F Kennedy; at home it is the era of the "Lady Chatterley" case, of the Beatles, of Mods and Rockers, art school riots, the Profumo scandal. Moving and absorbing and full of comedy as well as strife, this superb novel brings our own recent past to vivid, and disturbing life.