Plotwise, this novel ought to have a good deal working for it. Alex Morgan, fortyish, Catholic, father of nine, goes to Lourdes in the hope of curing his approaching blindness. He is accompanied by a friend, Mariner, a former professor, current drifter, and a compulsive Don Juan, as well as Mariner's ex-wife, Maggie. En route this odd trio encounters some bizarre members of Europe's literary and jet sets and they attend a Bacchanalian revel. Told with sophistication, this strange pilgrimage could have been a savage parody of modern life; but in spite of the author's, and characters', best efforts, it remains depressingly mediocre. At most it's an earnest, pedantic, well-meaning novel which never achieves its tragimystic intent with one interesting conception, aging, garrulous, worldly William Mariner.