If one could wade a weary way through the words-words-words encumbering this ovel with more colloquial ballast than the New Webster's Third Edition, there might onceivably be a reward--the glimpse of a modern microcosm where social decadence plays on the wrecked spirits of little men and turns life, unappetizingly, into ""a gambling mass of psychic sores"". Instead the jumble of aphorisms and slang displays izarre collection of prototypical characters that never manage to seem quite real. ather, following ""one grand delusion after another"", never recovers romantically from the love of a suicidal Cleopatra named Marianela; his wife passes on doubtless out of reference; and the children live in various poses of bestiality and fallen intellect. All of this grafted tenuously onto the background of a dissolute Buenos Aires provides of erotic nightmare leaving a faint taste of sympathy for Father's misguided Crailties and a strong tone of vapid morbidity for the rest: Margarita, ""the shapeless slob""; Agraciada, sensual mental beast; Lucio, demented playboy; and the diarist, Ignacio, ""guilt-bearer"" (he says). Neither a successful story nor a convincing picture of an epoch, the epigraph might be altered: not ""Man"", but ""Novelists must be reinvented"".