By no means as straightforward as The Brother, most of this takes place in the head of Richard, an adolescent, which houses a ""tiger of the imagination"" while he deliberately keeps his distance from most of the people around him, particularly his mother. Richard is sure he will do something very different -- ""Being is becoming. Most people are nothing."" But he's still only becoming in his obdurately self-contained fashion, involved only rarely -- with Marcia, a gift who dies; with Leslie who allures him sensually and also with his sister Sandra who attracts him on the same parallel. Reeve (a poet as well as a novelist) uses an improvisational technique where formulae, words, jingles, questions and open-ended possibilities all bob gently in the associative commotion and the chances are that the novel might dissipate altogether if you try to lay a hand on it.