Thomas, forty-eight, suffering slightly from the generation gap between himself and his young wife, takes a trip back to a remote youth during their holiday in Tyrrhenia after he meets John and Paula Pleasance. Paula is an enticing reminder of Angelina, Thomas' first love, and they begin an affair that continues back in London. Husband John in the meantime seems oddly encouraging when he is not giving off some rather strange vibrations. Then there's the Pleasances' odd relationship with Dicky, the man they've both known since childhood. It's a singular affair, meant to convey the delicate balance in human contacts which in this instance are emotionally perverted. But it's a sad, tawdry little quartet that will leave the reader puzzling over why Thomas would get himself in such a predicament. Unless, as his wife puts it in her farewell note, he's just a ""silly, old, old, man.