An Atlantic crossing and its aftermath frame the incidents in the lives of a handful of people and produce some footnotes to the science of dalliance and the omnipresence of sexuality. Widower Martin Yulee, fearing his weakening heart and hating his impotency, takes his grandson Steve (18) on the Liberte for a European junket; French writer Odette Kepler is returning home with a love affair on the wane; ten months widow Mrs. Daley hopes to find a man after a marriage to a homosexual; Steve loathes the four-squares aboard, eats and retreats from Grampa's gestures of communication. But when Odette defies Martin and lets Steve become her lover, when Martin refuses an affair with Mrs. Daley, when they get to port- it is in Paris that the end is written. For Martin regains his virility with Mrs. Daley, Steve, sensitized to the city's appeal, waits for Odette -- and Martin dies, making it obligatory for Steve to return home with the body. An adult, but not an admonitory, view of the weaknesses of the flesh and rational man, of illusions, discontent and loneliness, and of many kinds of love -- this orchestrates its characters in mounting development.