His countrymen will shiver at the title. And rightly so -- this self-pitying novel is about that most tiresome of bourgeois '50's myths: the successful ad man who deserts his boring successful wife/life to run off to the wilds (in this case Mexico; wouldn't you know, San Miguel de Allende) to fulfill his potential of writing the great you-know-what. Shane Donovan hails from Canada, but otherwise he's undistinguishable from the American gray flannel counterparts he otherwise loudly deplores in endless didactic speeches re ""selling-out."" The novel also uses another lazy cop-out (it's a novel about a man trying to write a novel) to excuse a mediocrity of style and sensibility on the grounds of a ""sincerity"" so slick it cannot see its own corruption. The occasional glib self-criticisms do not serve their apparent function of dispelling critique, but only reinforce the lack of morality and craft in what is apparently both character and author: ""He was a hack, pure and simple -- and the hell with it.