...admits of very little save the author's impressive verbal facility and telling exposure of motivation. A first novel, this is written in a variety of styles -- from the staccato to the rambling discursive -- which lends more fascination than enlightenment to the effort. To create a break in the humdrum of his life, George, who longs for ""succulent complexity"" and who considers himself a detached objective observer, pretends to two new identities assumed for the benefit of two girls -- Cairo Joy, ordinary and conventional and Stephanie, almost disastrously neurotic. In his exploration of compartmentalized experience he considers that he has fallen in love with Stephanie. But he becomes engaged to Cairo Joy. When he discovers that with Stephanie he has a rival, he is forced, by the irony of his detachment which covers all possibilities, all motives, all conclusions, to kill him. He breaks into Eric's apartment and mistakenly kills Cairo Joy's younger brother who was unwittingly enlisted in the snare. This dissection of characters existing only by virtue of their poses and perceived mannerisms in mocking and bitter in many ways and written with a certain verve and wit. Interesting but limited.