We were dispossessed by time and by minestrone soup that found us in a friend's apartment on the upper West Side."" Come again? Well, anyway, the ""we"" and the ""us"" refer to Dr. Michael H. and his adulterous and leukemic ladylove, Karin. As consumer and purveyor respectively, they meet in a whorehouse where the good doctor regularly comes to dispel some of the dolorous mist that hangs over his days as a researcher in a New York cancer hospital. He's Jewish, she's German; he's the healer, she's the die-er; when she has electroshock therapy after a breakdown, Michael responds (cause-and-effect is not this book's strong point) by falsifying the skin-graft in his immunology research. In his own overwrought way, Michael comes off as passably understandable, considering the relentless medical horror-show he sits through day after day, but the character of Karin is a complete mess: a German-born leukemic housewife from Connecticut wiling away her last days as a roundheels? Look for anything but good intentions here and you'll come up short--Breslow has written a little book that's as humid as a sweatbox, well-meaning but ultimately amateurish. ""The trees whisper 'Michael, Michael,' cars screech 'Michael, Michael,' each noise seems to call your name, even the noise of jello. . . ."" No doubt they're all trying to get a word in before that pushy minestrone comes knocking at the door. . . .