It is raining. I am in my room. There is no window shade. The trees outside are shaking. My radiator steams. . . ."" So begins the simple declarative tale of Tike, a minute monologuist who drifts ""on the edges of other people's lives."" He's young and very much a loner until the intrusion of Val, a fellow boarder whose ""perverse"" promiscuity takes him into the lives of the other tenants. There's Wendy, Val's roommate who ""asks for misery""; Rufus, an ex-lover now taking up with Irene, a Negro singer, and Lillie who hovers on the fringes of the community. The story takes place in about forty-eight hours covering Tike's brief affair with Val which leaves him uprooted, unmanned and about to take his first reckless but positive action. The same sort of character, the sensitive alienated, reappears in the other five stories--vignettes actually, which touch on latent homosexuality, infrequent instances of rapport and the interlude just preceding adult assumption of responsibility. The author is aware and genuine but he is also stubbornly and ploddingly romantic, a choice which may put off his intended audience.