Leo Abse has done it again. At eighty-three, the Freudian ex-MP to whom we owe the reform of the laws relating to divorce, homosexuality, suicide and children's rights has produced a book that is brilliant, disturbing and entertaining, at times bewildering, but always stimulating. His opening is characteristically provocative, informing us in detail of how, 'as a callow provincial youth of seventeen', he was 'for the first time proffered a blow job'. But the purpose of the book - a volume of essays on a common theme - is perfectly serious.
Abse's basic thesis is that we live in an age of shallow and soulless materialism, one in which work has become dehumanised and women are too busy to breast-feed their children properly. As a result, ours is increasingly a world of disturbed individuals, incapable of forming intimate personal relationships and