As the summer begins, Olivier, an extremely non-communicative but fiercely aware young man, returns to his family home on the coast of Brittany after two years in the military service. He discovers that his younger sister Anne, with whom he has shared all of the meaningful moments of his childhood and adolescence, has promised to marry Pierre, Olivier's best, and only close friend. They are to be married at the end of the summer and go immediately to Beirut, where Pierre will be a teacher. When Pierre arrives to spend the summer vacation, a strange and ominous threat begins to eat into all three relationships. As the summer progresses, Anne and Pierre spend less and less time alone with each other and seem to be ""irresistibly drawn to him (Olivier) like children afraid of their freedom"". Suddenly, towards the end of the summer, Olivier takes the fateful step which reveals to both Anne and himself the exclusive and unyielding nature of their devotion to one another, and, although the marriage eventually takes place, the denouement of the novel has already been moulded by Olivier's action. Translated by Richard Howard, this is extremely musical prose, throbbing with tension and threatening movement. The characters are finely and sympathetically drawn, and the use of symbolism is subtle and effective throughout.