Old Mr Rock, a widower, lives in a cottage with his granddaughter Elizabeth; his household includes Daisy the pig, Ted the goose and Alice the cat, but an additional member threatens in the person of Sebastian Birt, the schoolteacher whom Elizabeth wants to marry. Birt teaches in the state institution for girls run by two authoritarian spinsters, the inseparable Misses Edge and Baker.
One sunny summer's morning, the morning of the Founders' Day Ball, as Mr Rock goes up to the school to fetch his pig-swill for Daisy, it is discovered that two of the girls have gone missing in the night. As he pursues the unfolding events of this crowded day and eavesdrops on the conversations up at the school and down at the cottage, Henry Green subtly teases out all the hidden ambitions and lusts, the suspicions and jealousies that are rife just beneath the placid surface of the institution. With an unmatched ear for dialogue and an absolute mastery in the depiction of character, he imbues this apparently routine school day with a powerful charge of drama and superb comic effect.
“That Green is completely master of his material is proved by Concluding...which has been acclaimed as his masterpiece. From the point of view of pure technique the claim is just. It is a marvellously well written book”
“He has found in Concluding a theme whose sinister beauty exquisitely fits his equivocal powers, and he has handled it with care and inspiration”
George Painter, Listener
“He interprets better than any other contemporary writer the relationship of the individual to the chaos of our time”
Robert Kee, Spectator