A serious, thoughtful novel of intelligent Australians of the present day, as Gilbert, his sister, Marty, and his young brother, Nick, and their family and personal problems are presented against a world at war. Gilbert and Marty find they can no longer write. Nick, the super-radical, statistic-minded, finds articles always ready to his hand. Gilbert is encumbered further with a martyr-complexed wife and two daughters whose future is precarious, and for a time finds a sort of release and his lost youth in an affair with an ambitious would-be writer. With Pearl Harbor and the impending threat of Jap attack, action supersedes thinking, but the old doubts and worries return, despite happiness in his daughter Prue's romance with an American soldier, as his other daughter dies with an ectopic pregnancy, and his wife becomes deranged and has to be institutionalized. Finally, he achieves freedom to find a solution in the book that must be written... Man -- the thinking animal -- in the midst of personal and global tragedy, mentally confused, aroused and finding little of hope or salvation save within himself. Not a book for light fiction readers nor rentals.