Sex was, as Latin say, in the ambiente."" in fact very much is most of the way through this bald, rampantly active, first person account of Rafe who is making out as well as making it, up from cigar factory beginnings in Florida to upper middle class success in New York. No lousy lover he, but calculating, charming. Rafe single-mindedly pursues his double-standardized objectives: sex and love are altogether divided and equally worthwhile-sex can be pure, while love is that ""wonderful settled life"" with the pretty prude he decides to marry. Thus Rafe is the resilient, archetypal heel who has figured in so many books. What gives Mr. Yglesias' second novel (with The Goodbye Land and In the Fist of the Revolution in between) a certain contemporary amplification are the political and racial backgrounds through which Rafe moves however carefully -via Jerry, who was in the Communist underground; or Josh, a Negro; or a cousin, a derelict survivor in Cuba.... The novel has, like Rafe, quite an electrostatic charge and it is expected (by the publishers) to do well. Perhaps.