This is the story of a search which takes Nadia, brought up in England, to Paris and to the transient, febrile world of the artist-expatriate where the truth of her parentage is still obscured and unresolved. Through several friends and contacts, approving and otherwise, she attempts to reconcile the variable views of Marian, her mother (""pre-Raphaelite angel"" or ""bad woman"") who had ended her life as another ""inconnue"" of the Seine, and Drodi, her presumed father, poet, charmer, dissolute. Here, on the Left Bank, Nadia's pursuit of her parents' past parallels her own present to reach the point which seems almost inevitable; she falls in love with her half-brother, then learns the truth which makes possible a seemingly impossible attachment....This is perhaps conveniently circumstantial. More real is the montage of pseudo-beat boites and bistros, the mood swing of ennui and excitation, and the decadence which a still youthful innocence contradicts. It is in just these occasional scenes, and through marginal minor characters, that the novel is often brilliant and intensely alive, although it is perhaps not as good a book as When We Had Other Names.