A man recovering from eye surgery is mystified and intrigued by visions of a mysterious sea-side house, and on regaining his sight he loses the visions and, it would seem, his mind.

This story reminded me a little of the previous Ballard story I read, “The Delta at Sunset”; both feature an invalid who has turned inward to a strange fantasy that no one else can see, and who chooses the fantasy world when the real world threatens to cut him off from it. This story is filled with references to Greek literature and Renaissance painting, and the final image feels like one of those pictures that can be two things – a lady or a skull, a rabbit or a duck – depending on how you hold your eyes.