When he was reading this, s.penkevich gave us a quotation:"And it seems both strange and sad to me that all those childish years were spent in preparation for this – that, forgotten by everybody, with a beaten face, I should serve machinery in a place far away from the sun."That did it, I knew I had to read the book.The back cover mentions Anna Kavan's mental illness, her breakdowns, time spent in a Swiss clinic, heroin addiction and also compares her to Kafka. Frankly, though true, I think this is all a bit misleading as to what you will get in her writing.Her prose is spare, there is no sloppiness or excess. Everything is precise, well-observed and intense. Her images are carefully described and haunting, the characters' emotions -- whether basic or subtle -- have a weight to them.Instead of being Kafkaesque (with all the frustration and claustrophobia that entails) I find her writing poignant and achingly beautiful. If anyone, she makes me think of Chekhov.