To Fraser, the [Torrington West] was a bathetic disappointment. Even if Welsh’s giddy recall of the place was exaggerated, Fraser would have still imagined something more exotic than this melamine purgatory. Fraser had a fanciful notion that there would be luxurious surroundings, dazzling iridescent lights, frantic activity and beautiful people. When Fraser was much younger, squared away in the soft, warm, torch-lit embrace of his blankets, he could read and dream of a place far away from his own, cold existence. Tall beautiful women dressed in high pointed shoes and draped in fur smoking from cigarette holders. Sharp-suited young men of dubious background seduced rich widows and pretty yet foolish girls.