Farewell tour of predatory American business practices by the late Robbins. This differs not a whit in spiritual vacancy from Robbins’s earlier works, except that now his sheer storytelling clout rises above dismal bad taste. Opening in the ’40s in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen, the story circles back to the lower-middle-class settings of Robbins’s earliest novels, Never Love a Stranger and A Stone for Danny Fisher (which was set in ’40s Chicago), then goes on with a plot that reprises several of his sagas, with many familiar Robbins milieus crammed into one. When high-school senior Jerry Cooper (once Kupferman) is orphaned at 17, his Uncle Harry robs him blind, as does Jerry’s 19-year-old lover Kitty, who winds up marrying Uncle Harry while carrying Jerry’s child. Uncle Harry, a numbers man who owns a busy soda fountain, hires Jerry to pull sodas after school, which gets him into the carbonated water business (which Uncle Harry also steals from him). Come WWII, Jerry is shipped to France, where he works his way up to master sergeant repairing damaged Jeeps near Paris. He gets into selling them on the black market and also meets Jean Pierre Plescassier, whose family sells Plescassier water (read: Perrier). At war’s end, Jerry’s knowledge of carbonated water sales in New York leads Jean Pierre to hire him for the introduction of Plescassier water to the States. Then Jerry runs up against the Mafia—and, again, Uncle Harry, who has become a good business friend of Mafia boss Frank Costello. Pages drip with sex, and every story-starved cell gets fed. Goodbye, Harold, and may billions of new readers raise a joyful shout wherever you are.