A ""polluted little pond"" of artists in Vancouver and the persons and sex lives which obsess them--matters discussed by all (a generally flabby and tiresome group of thirtyish navel-gazers) interminably and drearily. Joseph, a teacher of industrial arts, who's manic but will marry nice ""normal"" Ann, is a good friend to virile and handsome Mike the sculptor, who's married to the Nordically stunning Alma, who calls him ""Polack"" and ""Barbarian"" and discovers she's a lesbian. Alma will have breathless, explicitly detailed sexual summits with Roxanne, a constructor of ""sound maps"" who is taken under the wing of cool, successful photographer Allen and becomes a companion for sad Pierre, Allen's jealous, intense little live-in lover. There's also painter Carlotta--who sleeps with Mike and Roxanne. Eventually: Mike leaves for a family business out west, to make money, although he loves his two boys; Alma will, after Mike marries again, produce his child and doff Roxanne during a brief reconciliation with Mike; unlucky Pierre will commit suicide after Allen is exposed in a news report on a homosexual party; and Allen will turn his grief into serious art. Finally, after a vigilante riot at an exhibition of Carlotta's paintings, which are destroyed just as her ""fixed ideas"" of her friends have been, the whole gang--Joseph, Ann, Alma, Mike, Allen, Roxanne, and Carlotta--is tossed in a paddy wagon. And a good thing too--though too late, unfortunately, to spare readers the dank ruminations of an erratic writer (Against the Season, 1971) who often wildly overestimates the interest-level of sexually troubled souls airing their relationships.