A horrifying and disturbing story, completely unrelieved and so violent in its expression, so muted in its emotions, that it leaves the reader shocked- but unmoved. Cross Chicago Negro, disillusioned with the futility of his life and the mess he has made of it, is gives a chance to drop his identity and escape- he thinks- when a subway crash victim is identified as Cross. Then the vicious spiral begins; death again and again the answer Cross supplies, with scarcely a flicker of feeling. New York proves a false dream of security; two chance meetings on the train supply their own nets; and Communism reaches out its tentacles to draw him in. He gets trapped by a somewhat phoney gesture on the part of a white couple seeking in him the symbol of their racial tolerance- then falls in love with the woman, and she with him. And in the end, he is trapped by the very understanding of another "outsider" -- and by the ruthlessness of the Party.