Despite apparent good intentions, this is a disjointed and embarrassing psycho-contrivance--published, perhaps, because of the recent trend toward homosexual-identity-crisis novels. Cello Manfredi, made motherless by suicide and fatherless by irresponsibility, is sent as a boy to live with family in Brooklyn, circa 1950. His closest friend becomes cousin Tato, both boys having been taken under the wing of an aunt, Zia Fantasia, who is the mistress of a rich Argentinian and who treats the boys to a magical summer at the Argentinian's huge and lavish Southhampton beach house. The novel then jumps ahead in time: Tato grows up, marries, and divorces, while Cello almost becomes a priest in Rome, detoured only by strange sexual pangs. And then Cello has a car accident on Long Island, develops amnesia (!), comes out of it as ""Jim Smith,"" marries his nurse, and fathers two daughters. Wonderful--but then one day, passing a trysting spot for homosexuals, Cello/Jim deliberately tarries, is arrested for public lewdness, and the arresting cop is. . . Tato! Tato, of course, is gay himself, still loves Cello, but is deep in the closet. And he delivers his analysis of their shared problem in the accents of Rocky Graziano: ""There's somethin' you're supposed to get from your father. You know what I'm trying to say? But it's somethin' he's gotta wanna give you, like part of himself, and if you don't get it, because he don't want to give it to you, or because he ain't got it to give. . . ."" Awful.