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Having bid goodbye to absolutes, another lucidly conditioned ""hero"" -- this one an Englishman -- grapples with absurdity, ennui, and the strange fruits of heightened consciousness. Miss Del-Rivo's pseudo-Sartrian derivative is Joe Beckett who bides his time in a furnished bed-sitter, takes an occasional clerk's job, and lectures incessently to anybody who'll listen. He goes to a party and meets Dyce. Dyce, committed to the spirituality of the British pound, challenges Beckett to do a murder for him. And murder, as anybody who has read Colin Wilson can tell you, is the only absolute crime, experientially rich and ""free"". Our existentialist doer is just about to perpetrate murder when the would-be victim dies of a heart attack. The moment of absolute freedom metamorphoses into ""ultimate unreality"". Beckett, to make things worse, does not even get a chance to give himself up. He is ""acted upon"" for the crime. On the last pages, Beckett comes to accept and rejoice in his enlightened condition. He realizes that spiritual leukemia is a far better thing than deceptive red cells... Admittedly, the accouterments of commitment and action are far more exhaustive than the trappings of nihilism and reaction. It is difficult to bring anything very new to the theme which Miss Del-Rivo has tackled; and, unfortunately, she is no exception. It is likely that to this novel of indifference the reader will respond in kind.

Publisher: Doubleday