Treating the human comedy with the lightest but firmest of touches, Scowcroft isolates his present day Everyman in the grief of young widowerhood, paralyzed in painful un-action in Spain, unable to progress past grief or grapple with his future. Andrew Hutchins, middleclass, Middle Western and midway between wives has four visions of womanhood revolving and jostling him. The first is the courtly dream of romance conjured up by the seamstress he can see from the seedy hotel where he lies alone. The second is the eternal mystery of womanhood embodied in a statue at the museum he visits. The third is his sister, a superb example of determinedly dishonest simplicity, and the fourth is Jed, an expatriate hack militantly committed to the most soul- shattering frankness-but only for herself. Sister faces facts and smothers them; Jed strangles when facts are thrust at her; Andrew is as battable by these female forces as a badminton bird, but floats very slowly. It is impossible to suggest the assurance the author brings to these characters, their depths as social/psychological symbols, or his effective, intelligent satire. Mr. Scowcroft continues to fulfill the promise of his earlier novels and should command attention for this one--especially from scenarists--this is visual as well as intellectual comedy.