This novel about love, by a well-known Negro author, has received a good deal of advance publicity and will probably be widely read. Its subject is tormented love: love between men and women, homosexuals, whites and Negroes, shown through various shifting relationships in a group of friends. Rufus, a Negro boy, has a tragic affair with a Southern white girl; she ends in the madhouse, he becomes homosexual and kills himself. Vivaldo, an Irish-Italian, unsuccessful writer, who was fond of Rufus, begins a stormy affair with Rufus' sister, Ida. A white couple, Cass and Richard, start to break up when Richard becomes a successful writer and Cass has an affair with a homosexual, Eric, who loved Rufus, and is now in love with a French boy, Yves. All these people are hopelessly involved in each other, and with themselves, and search for love in each other generally in physical ways: at one point Vivaldo even has an affair with Eric. The ending is a tragic and inconclusive general dissolution in which truth destroys love. It is a curiously juvenile book for a man who has done so much writing. Neither the style nor the thought is particularly brilliant. Yet it has a certain emotional power. As the characters talk endlessly about their passion and the pain, they reveal a staggering collection of the less commonplace griefs of our time. And this relentless insistence, despite a certain banality and naivete, ends by conveying a honest and despairing conviction of reality.