The political and sexual ruminations of a young man named Alden, a college dropout who drifts around a lot--in an artless chronicle with a dreary theme: we substitute sex in our culture--joyless, unbonded, without affect--for the greater pains of consciousness. (""Why, having become aware of eternity, haven't we in that same instant learned to turn off fear and even pain?"") In California, Alden hitches up with a compliant secretary named Swan--utterly without a will of her own. In New York, he's rescued from the seediness of an SRO hotel by Jenny, a liberal working at the U.N. After a wearing-off of their passion, Alden goes to Haiti for a spell, returns to New York, goes to Boston and is involved in the anti-war movement, picketing the Pentagon. And when this activism seems as ephemeral as his sex life, he drifts again: he gets a job selling stool-reupholstery to diner owners--and at last offers a few paragraphs of vivid writing. (The coming of night to the commercial strip in Norwalk, Route 7: ""Twilight, and Seven coming into its own. Clusters of light, all those factories, stores, real estate offices, diners, hiding their shapes or misshapes and their unloveliness and dancing into the sky with red, white, and blue fluorescence."") But the book continues its drab litany of bedmates--Kelly, Kirstin, etc.--without ever achieving more than a melancholic sort of inertia. Droning, dispirited work, lacking the narrative drive of Koning's recent better efforts (e.g., DeWitt's War, p. 138).