Torrentially morose and neurasthenically self-absorbed, this tells of a young Armenian-American's problems in finding himself and his place. But Aram Tomassian merely transposes his own internal scene in travels from his parental home in Weehawken, N.J., to Manhattan, London and Paris -- where he hopes to shake his 'monster' insecurity but remains odd-man-out even among outsiders. He and the novel are at their best in confronting the savage histories and present habits of Jersey-Armenian neighbors and his own family's past -- his mother's escape via a contract marriage; her bitter divorce and remarriage into the same family; then his father's sudden stroke and slow, slow death. With that behind them, Aram and his half-brother Yero -- whom Aram loves, envies and despises for his easy adjustment to American money mores -- face an equally unpromising future. The present gives no sure footing either, but Aram/Najarian only exacerbates things by peering so intensely into its faults.