Coleman's narrator in this arch and awkward romance/melodrama is Regis O'Rourke, a stumbling 24-year-old writer (and full-time prig) on the way back to New York by bus after an unhappy stint in Hollywood at movie work. At the bus station, Regis sees Claudette Belladonna: she's beautiful (""How can I describe her in a way that will not sound straight from a thousand paperback novels?""); she's 21, mid-divorce, a promiscuous spirit with strangely close connections to her twin, the deadbeat, creepy, violent Claude. Naturally, Regis falls in love with Claudette, but Claudette won't be tied down--she's a pleasure-seeking animal and no more. So she marries a nice, stolid Spaniard, who, however, is infertile--a special problem when Claudette gets pregnant and when (inevitably) she and Claude are revealed to have an especially close relationship. As bad as Coleman is when Regis is just narrating this nasty mess, he's even worse when dialogue ensues. "" 'Merde!' she snapped, flippantly."" Or how about: ""With cheap misfired candor I said, 'Do you really want to hear?' "" Strictly amateur, and painful.