Bernard Fox has had his hands blown off in the Second World War. Now, 20 years later, he lives in Paris with his wife Nelly. A prosthesis with hooks enables him to do most of the daily chores and to paint lampshades. He shops in the little stores on Rue de Turenne, where everyone knows him; is visited by kindly Dr. Aubonne once a month; and receives an adequate government pension. In the meantime, Nelly, more beautiful now than when younger, goes to work after helping him prepare for the day and seems never to flag in her devotion, affection, and physical passion for him. Why then is Bernard gradually being consumed by a sense of uneasiness, dizzy spells, and an unreasoning jealousy that extends even to Nelly's employers? It focuses eventually on artist Pierre Mazeron, a wheelchair-bound victim of polio, brother of his wife's co-worker Gisele, who now lives in an apartment three floors beneath theirs. An incisive exploration of wounded psyches, at once taut and leisurely, that carries the reader almost breathlessly through its brief length to a wrenching conclusion. Powerful stuff in masterful hands.