Callaghan, still going strong at 82, has fashioned a full novel out of a previously published story, ""The Enchanted Pimp"" (1978)--but the amplification does neither writer nor reader any favors: expanded, it's a confused, confusing book, filled with obliquities that come off more like inattentive digressions. In a downtown Toronto hotel grill, local prostitutes attract their trade. One, Ilona Tomory, stands out as an unlikely whore: educated, with a highborn charisma that a local mobster, Jay Dubuque, finds irresistible. Why does Ilona, a Hungarian â€šmigrâ€š, bother to hook? With her charms and sophistication, she clearly could do much better. But there is a story . . .involving a long-ago, failed love affair, after which she'd been accused by the victorious woman who succeeded her of having the soul of a whore. And Ilona wondered if this might not be true, and thought there was only one way to find out. . . But if she is essentially a whore, she's a different sort of one: her disarming character, her luck, these all have Mary Magdalen-ish tints to them--which may be what Callaghan, whose previous book (A Time for Judas) 1983) had a religious framework, exactly intends. Yet it's hard to know; a parable it may be, but more obviously it's a noodling, cloudy book that occasionally snorts to life as if out of a catnap, only promptly to nod off again. Aimless, woolgathering work.