Before he made his journey to Sahalin, Chekhov said ""I hate lying and violence in all their forms"" and so does Mr. McConkey, a professor at Cornell, alias George Chambers, the dean of students at a New York state university at the time of the black/white and anything but black-and-white confrontation. Not that there haven't been any number of novels about it, but Mr. McConkey's has the advantage in that he's both a personable and reasonable monitor, thinking out loud and articulating very well the square root of a kind of ""liberalism that stops short of violence when it encounters injustice."" For those who want to avoid the current events curriculum there's Stella, his wife, who paints, and Mary, his daughter, who leaves college to track across Europe, and Mark, his son, in high school where he's activating. All while Chambers himself has to deal with the problem of the black students and a Black Studies Program (""a separate burner on the stove'""?) before the violence which takes place and costs lives. . . . McConkey's novel is a sort of multiple choice test of the times and sufficiently intelligent to come up with no one answer on the via media to Sahalin.