This is the least successful of Seymour Epstein's explicit life-styled portraits--parlously uneventful and unemotional although once again all the artifacts of Jewish lower-middle class life have been reproduced with deliberate fidelity. This focuses on Jonas Gould during a transitional year or so in his young (he's twenty-three at the close) experience; Jonas' Mother had died when he was a boy; his father Solomon has a gentle, absentee relationship with his children and the world; and Jonas is particularly attached to his older sister, Debbie, who now is considering an incongruous (to Jonas) marriage to the nondescript Norman. Jonas transfers to Ruth, a somewhat older young woman, married, has a first affair although Ruth is unsatisfactory except in bed (does she want Jonas, or a career, or the security her husband offers?) and finally at the close Jonas is off to the army.... It seems curious that Mr. Epstein could have written about Jonas with such care without evidencing, or for that matter, engendering any real feeling about him. Disappointingly so.