A first novel records- in the first person- all that is ""grubby and degenerate and sad"" in the young lives of a lost generation which is never to find itself. If it has a certain contemporary and compulsive authority, it is also flushed with an aura of inevitable dissolution and inexplicable instability. Dave Pope, who tells the story, is particularly aware of his own ""grubbiness"", from his small town beginnings in Philip, Massachusetts, where he first meets Ann Carlin, a footloose, Fitzgeraldian little rich girl from New York and way out of his class. His commitment to Ann continues- even after their affair is over- at Cornell where Ann moves on to Hugh- a ""study in concentrated ennui"" and in with a coterie which is lost in a limbo of sex, liquor and hot music. Dave, although by now living with Kathy, is once again the one to whom Ann turns when she needs an abortion. And although she makes the right marriage, she skids again when her husband is drafted, drifts back again- to one man and then another- to Hugh, while Dave, in a last attempt to salvage her, forfeits Kathy.... Heady- and fleshy too- there may be those to take exception as well as to question its importance over and above the personal purgative.