Usually ingenuous, not altogether together, and only too aware of the caprice of time -- that's Marco (and his book) who is now in his thirties with Marianne who remains most lovable and bed-dable and three little girls and a low-pressure job in an upstate New York academic press and Carol, the student-secretary there, who is also very desirable. This phases in and out of the present as Marco reconnoiters -- he's not the young man he was or will be some ten years hence. When he's very low he sees death everywhere; for one afternoon he tries to have the best of both Carol and Marianne (Marianne doesn't like this at all); and at the end Marco and Marianne tour two or three of their friends whose lives are dissolving while they resolve their own. Marco and Marianne (and Carol) are pleasant, permeable people and Mirabelli catches them as they are which is not for long: after all ""We all change, all learn what time it is."" Certainly the slight substance of this wistful pleading suggests that nothing lasts -- an impression the book invites by the very nature of the experience it skims off the top.