A tenuous, symbolic novel, of an adolescent's growing pains, which draws a vague line between realism and fantasy. The story concerns a mess boy on a ship and the coming of another ship which represents his fearfully and eagerly awaited . A wild, gay, violent, drunken party with prostitutes smuggled aboard, is given the crews of two ships, and the boy meets each challenge with courage, kindness and in the end realizes that most of his fears were imaginary and passed the test of manhood. He takes a new job on the second ship. Symbolic quality which may be due to an inadequate translation.