Set in North Africa just before and after VJ Day, this is mainly about the American (masochistic variety) Colonel Harlan Childress- and his relationship to the universe. High flown, rigid in structure, word-logged, and presenting one stick figure after another, the book is an unsuccessful attempt to show various types of Americans, including a senator, reacting to the casbah, the poverty, the imperialism as well as the beauty of North Africa. Within the frame work, there is brass, epaulet parties, dining on terraces, sight seeing at brothels. Harian is not sure he wants to return to America and the Thomas Edison job and security after the war. North Africa and a French woman named Jeanne and photography have their pulls and attractions, and on the other hand there's his wife. Within the cardboard structure of Harian are dark psychiatric hints of the effect of a tyrannical father and a bleached mother. Aboriginal, atavistic civilization as opposed to mechanized, dime store Americana, this makes dry stuff.