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George Hampton Holmes returns on medical leave to Cheltenham, Connecticut, after 24 years in Europe with the State Department. In the quarter-century Connecticut has changed markedly. It had become like ""a dreary extension of Flushing""...""beset by thousands of like automobile drivers"", agonized, commercialized, etc. Anna Lee Galt McLeod, his first and lasting love, has changed not one whit -- except, of course, that she is married to ""a good, clean-cut, red-blooded American executive"", Jon McLeod, and this presents something of a problem. George lives his couple of weeks of freedom triangularly. He and Anna Lee go off on a ten-hour sail across Long Island Sound, with only a sea-gull for company, but faithful they remain, she to her husband, he to his ideals. George gets only an indirect ""look into happiness"", a happiness in which the participants themselves -- Jon and Anna Lee -- are involved as to be unaware. A brush with death turns Jon inward and as George is due to return to base, the couple go off on an extended vacation. Precedent, if not the exigencies of style, leads one to read Ham's latest expectantly; this is the kind of low-keyed, uneventful work, in which there is usually a revealing, ""socko"" last chapter that makes it all worth the while. But no such thing here; so the dreariness is only maddening.

Pub Date: Jan. 9th, 1962
Publisher: Putnam