Only a kid with a pocketful of sins running scared from the incomprehensible adults--""Michael Cassidy, orphaned, who grows up in an old house at the end of a dead end street with his impregnable Aunt Agnes who only gave answers that ""stopped things."" Thus from small infractions (he stays out of school; steals from the five and dime) and guilts and fears and an occasional overwhelming embarrassment, he grows up to find them compounded. After Aunt Agnes dies, he turns over seventeen tombstones in the cemetery, lifts a wallet. heads to the midwest, takes a job in the zoo, flubs a second romantic attempt, goes home again, and accepts the ""real existential decision, to work out your salvation with a tool you know is defective."" At any rate to try and ""begin somewhere."" This dissociated, displaced young man, in search of himself (and, to an extent, a firmer story), is by now one of the more familiar faces in modern fiction; but his passade--particularly the early childhood scenes--from here to there and back is annotated with truth and feeling, evidences a talent which has begun somewhere in the autobiographical past and hopefully will gain some extension in the future.