Though Thomas Hinde has long been recognized in England as one of the most accomplished of the modern novelists, this is only the third of his books to appear here. Imported along with it is its American campus in Flatville, U.S.A.--well known to other British writers in residence--such as Kingsley Amis and Pamela Hansford Johnson. Hinde's view is expectably more subterranean and, for the most part, so are his intentions. On the surface, there seem no real barriers: early Anglo-Saxon and modern American are essentially the same language; and there is the usual commentary on the hornier and thornier aspects of academe. But the real substance of the book is the divisive parallelism within his central character, Maurice Peterson, who is also writing a book (which takes up half of this book) about Peter Morrison, a man equipped with exactly the same circumstances: a wife and a clutch of children; an avid young inamorata; even an occasional consulting psychiatrist. At the beginning as at the end, Peterson is attempting to kill off Morrison but fails to do so. Perhaps because his alter ego is a far more successful secret swinger whose high (they both take a trip) is a far more vivid extension. Certainly many other alternatives suggest themselves along with the projection of the American libidream as ""perpetual ecstasy."" In any case the novel, along with much of which will be alien to the conventional reader, is an astonishing display of the elements of fission-fusion in the single-dual lives of Maurice Peterson-Peter Morrison.