Mr. Moynahan is a hard-shelled romantic with many other things going for him--humor which is sometimes shaded on the dark side, an unbounded liberal arts background, and a sense of people which gives this book its considerable vitality. Among them one Myles McCormick, working in the Boston Free Library after a rather vague and irregular career: a time spent with a Dr. Beispiel who has been ""sandblasting his psyche""; and two years or so with Millicent Rogers, a nurse, whose lacerating death here (""Do you know of any acceptable substitute for living, Doctor?"") and unorthodox last tape from beyond the grave should garotte any sensibility. However once she has died Myles must face his feckless, aimless avoidance of life as a ""marginal man""; for one thing there's his newer love for Eithne Gallagher, a widow; for another his hopes for reactivating the Library and himself which are abruptly terminated by a myopic superior and leave him to start again or really for the first time. All of this is unquestionably involving: Mr. Moynahan's a writer of demonstrable talent who can easily upstage most of his contemporaries.