Parktilden Village is a modern apartment development in Perkeley, California, where Peter Hazen, an emotional and intellectual drifter, now finds himself- on the same floor with the Devereux- Jefferson Devereux- a professor- and Eleanor, his attractive wife for whom he had ""baby cat"" some years before. Now Jacqueline Devereux, his former charge, is fully and nicely developed and introduces him to her coterie of hot rod aficionados when Peter, a sociologist of sorts, decides to do a paper on this phase of American life. Jackie offers other interests as well- and Elcanor is sufficiently uneasy to decide to send her to New York- to study music. Peter seduces her, the night before she leaves, but once away, accepts Elcanor's more mature charms. Jackie comes home for Christman and when Peter's embrollment with her mother is exposed- runs away leaving all three of them- Jefferson- Eleanor and Peter- wretched in their guilt by design or by default.... A first novel (Elliott has already had some recognition as a short story writer, is a Hudson Review fellowship winner) this keeps its- and the reader's distance- from its characters and documents their bewildering behavior. At best, it is a sterile form of satire.