Completedby Robert Aickman in 1975, but never before widely available, Go Back at Once is a delicious,delirious comic fantasia about the joys and terrors of a life devoted toresisting the degradations of conformism. It tells the story of CressidaHazeborough and her friend Vivien, two mordantly intelligent young women tryingto find their ways in a misty, pre-Depression Britain. The pair have littlepatience for the company of the marriageable men they are meant to endure, yetneither do they possess the means to live as they might wish: together, andapart from the demands of modern society. What’s a girl to do? Having leftschool and taken the sorts of London job available to women of their age andstation, remarkable news arrives: a great foreign poet, playwright, athlete,and soldier named Virgilio Vittore has successfully conquered the tiny countryof Trino, on the Adriatic Sea, and is now governing it ‘according to the lawsof music’. Could this new utopia be a refuge for Cressida and Vivien, andindeed all who seek a life less ordinary? Or should the women, having arrivedin this chaotic land, where love, life, and politics must submit to the rulesof the beautiful, take to heart the advice of the novel’s title? Snobbishyet humane, reactionary yet camp, strait-laced yet queer, old-fashioned yetradical, Go Back at Once revealsRobert Aickman as a master not only of the ‘strange story’, but a satiristdeserving of a place alongside the mischievous and venomous greats of theinter-war canon: Firbank, Compton-Burnett, Waugh, Powell.