Mr. Harris is a writer of tremendous assurance quite justified by the fact that he's worldly in a wider sense, sharp and commandingly easy to read. Thus he is able to carry off a startling narrative with conviction as well as concern for characters who, in lesser hands, would not invite it. Involved one is in this story whose central purpose is to show the incapacitating lack of involvement in the narrator who first appears as Chekov's Trepleff--a ""doomed saint"" cut off from God and his fellow men. Although actually, he thinks of himself as Arrowsmith, a benefactor of mankind, and thus goes on to become a doctor--a psychiatrist with a wife and children all as ""adjusted as a quartet of well-oiled Swiss watches."" Until in attempting to relate to a young woman he is thrown out of the house and the profession and sails for Europe without a cent except the seven dollars he pitches out of the porthole. Aboard is the enamelled Nadia, a widow whose emotional destitution he shrugs off, and expressionlessly and lovelessly they go hand in hand to their separate Gehennas. Mr. Harris tells his story in a very direct fashion without any arcane shadowboxing and succeeds in catalyzing curiosity and acute interest. If you read it, you'll read it.