Regarded as profoundly moving and disturbing, the story is set in a Melbourne suburb after World War I. Dad is an ex-sapper and a drunken bully, Mum is a successful nurse. Big brother Jack is a tough larrikin, fighting, drinking, swearing and wenching. Davy, the younger boy and narrator, comes over as a prig and a milksop as he recounts the incidents of childhood adolescence and eventual maturity. And then the brothers are faced with World War II and the decisions that they, as men, must make. A Miles Franklin Award winner.