Paul Austin is aware that he suffered from frequent memory blackouts which he calls ""losing time,"" but John, a psychiatry student he meets during a casual walk on the beach, recognizes that Paul is a rare, classic case of grande hysterie. That is, three distinct personalities--intellectual, angry Mike, athletic, friendly, kleptomaniacal George, and Paul himself--share Paul's body and fight for ultimate control. This is scarcely more than a fictionalized case history, and, indicatively, it's the clinical diagnosis that arouses our curiosity and the scenes with John and, later a therapist, that frustrate us because the specialists don't provide the background information we're looking for. Carlson handles Paul's triple character quite well, and we can both follow the interaction and empathize with each level of Paul's fractured personality. That will be enough to hold most curious readers, though Paul's abrupt recovery may leave them dazed. . . and many of their questions unanswered.