‘I write of father and son’ is how the author opens this novel, which is a classic story about English upper-class life and the changing values of the late 20th century. The patrician figure of the father, an industrial magnate, is a pillar of the community. Through the figure of his young son, emerging from Eton to take his place in the scheme of things, the cracks become visible and certainties shatter. Yet, at its deepest level, Decline is a story of redemptive hope – and the title willfully contrary.