In this first-person narrative of a deliberately repressed personality, Emily Stone and her lover Peter Meadows (later her husband) share a fastidious distaste for the untidiness of humanity in its normal state -- a compulsive need to attenuate emotional entanglements. Both of these pathological personalities are at once repelled and attracted by frank, generous human commitment as represented by Emily's oldest friend, Sasha Courtney. Sasha's fatal illness releases Peter into the world of human feeling (in his case, a lifelong struggle with psychosis) and imprisons Emily more deeply in denial and hatred disguised as serf-control. To portray a complex psychological situation through the narrow and warped vision of one character takes great discipline and attention to detail, and Anne Redmon succeeds admirably. The writing occasionally dips below the high standard she sets herself, but in general it is cool, lucid and tidily attractive, effectively suggesting Emily's specious intellectual clarity and love of antiseptic order. A promising debut by a novelist who appears headed for very fine things.