Anatole, Chris, and Lydia are friends living in (or dying in, as is more usually the daily case) Poughkeepsie, New York. Anatole is a gay hairdresser; Lydia is nearing 30 and drifting badly; Chris is an enigma who runs a record store. All three seem to mobilize themselves to do little but meet at bars and wonder who's sharing whose bed. Enter a teen-ager, Leigh, glimpsed at a seedy downtown mall. Leigh moves in with Anatole but won't have sex with him. Lydia lusts after him, while Leigh really wants Chris. Suds galore, in other words. Youth as sexual tabula rasa is a fine and workable theme if you're Thomas Mann, but first-novelist Russell can't do much but glumly stir around the idea: the utter lack of credible story complication here makes the anemic characters paler still. Dull and cheerless.