A first novel spans an intense, self-revelatory spring, here remembered and recordered in the first person. Rodger, just 18, lives in Surfly, a small industrial town, 90 miles from New York if culturally a lot further away. Rodger, a sensitive boy, a spectator type, rather aimless in this his senior high school year, is overwhelmed by Elaine Helmer who comes to live in Surfly, Elaine whose blatant beauty and wealth would make her conspicuous anywhere. When Rodger meets her, she is already involved with the local football hero, Bob Flood, an inappropriate choice who in the months to come finds himself increasingly uncomfortable with the intense, original, and too demanding Elaine. Rodger, participating only peripherally in Elaine's life, entertains rather impossible romantic dreams about her. On a quixotic impulse, he helps an older Mexican woman escape from her husband. Later he attempts to salvage Elaine, after she is abandoned by Flood, but at the end they are both alone with the same ""inadmissible hopes"" which somehow reality cannot cauterize.... Over and above the allusive symbolism here (the title and its implications), this makes a direct contact with the reader and is young and contemporary in its calibre and appeal.