Our narrator Nick Jenkins has graduated from university and moved to London where he has a job at a publishing house, a girlfriend named Barbara, and invitations to a lot of parties. He encounters many of the characters introduced in volume 1 (A Question of Upbringing), such as Uncle Giles, Stringham, and Widmerpool; and Powell introduces a few new characters, such as Mr. Deacon, an artist who was a friend of Nick's parents.
Like the first novel, this book explores the changing relationships between Nick and his friends. Only Uncle Giles seems consistent in his behavior as the years pass.
For me, the most interesting character was Widmerpool, who displays and odd combination of social awkwardness and arrogance - a trait I have observed in others; a trait that moves me to both annoyance and pity.
The other plot point that intrigued me was Jenkins's relationship with women. We see his affair with Barbara (presumably his first girlfriend) and his dealings with the rambunctious and sexually liberated Gipsy Jones.
Nick's career has not yet started; his love life is erratically beginning; and his place in the universe. The character development compensates for a minimal story and lead me to volume 3.