By the author of The Magic Year, and the publisher's fondest, biggest hope of the season, this is a strange story of tormented people, hallucinatory worlds, Germanie in its excess. Hamburg sets the scene for the murder of a Mr. Tyllmann, the investigation of his family- a wife and three sons- by the police which provokes the private confessionals of each. Regal, reserved, Ienia- his wife- exposes her childhood of extreme want, her rise to fame as a dancer, the marriage to Tyllmann and her loathing of the shy, weak man which eventually drove him to drink and women. There are also the three sons who loved or hated her, the degeneracy of the youngest, Tyllmann's financial entanglements which were to cause suspicion in his death... The extravagance and distortion of emotion here, pursued with Teutonic thoroughness, alienates rather than attracts.