Claude Roy, a French novelist, has a doubtless flair for projecting characters. He has also, in the great Gallic tradition, some smashing notions about love -- ""love is an invention of death"". Unfortunately he has a plot so thin, that it barely supports the burden of his intense speculations. In this story of a young ethnologist and his impetuous love affair with a stranger, he does manage to capture every tremor of the couple, to render the most minute embellishment of this theme with arresting clarity. For here are two intelligent, sensitive people in love and it is almost a miracle that they ever reach eachother's arms, so ardently do they search into their own souls. Still, when the last agony is examined, the final spasm carefully catalogued, one is left with the feeling that the novel has never quite begun. And this is a pity since Claude Roy's characters are the stuff out of which novels are made.