Jay Candless, who makes a lot of dollars out of the nickel soft drink business, tells his own story from the moment when the suicide of an old friend and associate Lamar Howell prompts him to look back on his life, and think about the differences between the ""curse of avarice and the talent for acquisition"" which has tainted his relationships with his family, friends and partners. Atlanta, Georgia, born, Jay grows up with a certain group who stayed with him through the years- and particularly Amanda, more than a ""kissing cousin"" who never quite lost her romantic association- for Jay. Still, while Amanda was to marry an older man, Jay was to know a very happy marriage with Virginia for a few years until the shooting accident she blamed on Amanda, made a paraplegic of her- then killed her. Through the years, from tractors to soft drinks, Jay becomes immensely successful, enjoys a sort of proxy status with Amanda before and after her divorce, but only, with Howell's death, learns how much those he helped hated him and is forced to assess the doubtful rewards of becoming a big man and a benefactor.... Glib to glossy storytelling, this combines its elements of unfinished romance, unsolved tragedy, with the mechanics and dynamics of success. If the door is still closed to the room at the top-still it's slick type of entertainment for men as well as women.