With more of the sincerity and vulnerability of his first book- Shore Leave and less of the smartness of The Hucksters and more recently (more dully-too) The Saxon Charm, this uses a by now familiar fictional stratagem, of a man- and his nine year old son- overboard, in the hours before they die or are saved. Duncan Bell, a boating bum, drinker, wastrel, only redeemed by the relationship he has with Cam, his boy, weakens to the stimulus of alcohol, the exhilaration of speed, wrecks his motorboat. In the water, for many hours, here are the interludes in which he sustains the courage of his boy- as well as his own and in which he recalls the failure of his marriage to Lorna, upon whom he has projected his own sense of sin. And in these hours he gets the answer to his confused, distorted bitterness, hopes for a second chance... The touches here, anatomical and clinical, may rule this out for some conservatives- but the tension is considerable, the father-son relationship most affecting.