The author of this creative, strangely effective novel has published another novel (John Fury) and short stories in Mademoiselle, Harper's Bazaar, and New Directions. Skillfully and brilliantly, he writes of a homosexual coterie who settle themselves comentarily in Italy. In the center of these Oedipal transients stands Mrs. Alice Markham -- mother earth supreme. She eats her young and sucks their egg shells dry. Jonathan, her son, kills himself because of her emotional incest and his subsequent homosexuality. Her husband leaves her. And in Italy, Mrs. Markham, lover of boys, falls in love with Sheridan- Jonathan's one-time lover. His group consists mainly of a painter, Haller; the beautiful thin boy named Crystal; Mr. and Mrs. Christophe, painter and poet; Leslie Cage, a student who loves Mr. Christophe; and Sheridan's real love- Cooper. Such aberrational scenes as Sheridan's retirement into bed handcuffed, his abortive attempt to go to bed with Mrs. Markham (i.e. his mother) and the overall theme of homosexuality add a certain amount of sensationalism and may incite perverted sales. But essentially, this is a highly sensitive novel of the loneliness and occasional panic of a group of people living on the periphery.