. . .comfortably waiting, as if before the beginning of an entertainment. . . ."" These are the last prophetic and in a seine suicidal words of Christopher Davis' relatively long new novel which leaves you uncomfortably waiting for something to happen. One would not have anticipated this after A Peep into the 20th Century or some of Davis' quite dramatic early books. But here the specification is faint; the attention strays through journals, letters anti desultory dialogue loosely tracing the Weisshom family from its Russian-Jewish settlement in Philadelphia under the firm thumb of a matriarch-banker. Mostly however it concentrates on her grandson Alex, a musician, and his love for Eve, neurasthenic to the degree where she ultimately dies of malnutrition (living on too much ""moonlight""? -- her own little word for making love). And at the end, still in ""mid-career,"" Alex will be killed on a Mexican waterfront. Davis has failed to communicate more than a passing, idiosyncratic interest in Alex, and the intermittent remarks about life and death in the afternoon all seem to hang in midair -- over an etiolated landscape.