All the expected things are happening between them. Early middle-aged and middle-middle class."" And the expected things for that high-anxiety Manhattan couple, Sara and William, parents of two young boys, include distrust, dislike, and disillusion. William has lost his position as a lackey for a scandal-drenched cartel, and during his enforced idleness, while he whines and snarls, Sara--soured on housewifery--takes on an editorial job with a woman's magazine. Latent ambition and sexual performance (sex with William was tiresomely dutiful) light fires for Sara all over town--lunches and sex with the boss while home deadlines go ignored. Sara is swept along in the subtleties of office plotting and clawing, and new to the game, she is dealt out. Meanwhile, William has made a comeback with some of his own wheeling and dealing, and the then-jobless Sara must take a stab at housewifery again with new money rolling in. But she opts for another job, this time sure of her skills and biz wits. The boys will be miserable, William's status as old-timey pater familias has been shattered, but ""she wants this job for the job and herself. Perfect reasons."" At the close, husband and wife, with their newly acquired cunning, reconciled to their sediment of guilt, essentially no longer in love, recognize that ""to hold and be held"" is the best they can give one another. An acrid modern fable, briskly delivered in high-sheen dialogue and stiletto-heeled narration.