This is Underwood’s first book of nonfiction prose and, like most debuts, it has its flaws. The central argument is somewhat woolly – almost any subject might be obliquely tethered to “uncertainty” – and Underwood’s rhapsodic lyricism sails dangerously close to feyness at times. But he is a lucid and engaging companion. The voice that comes through in these pages is immensely likable – humble, conscientious and emotionally intelligent. The book’s format – flitting back and forth between disquisition and memoir every few pages – serves the reader well: the essayistic meanderings are kept in check, and the autobiographical candour doesn’t cloy.