A mixed work, this contains many of the cliches, attitudes and self-conscious rebellions of youth -- but also a tremendous young vitality, and a genuine writer's gift. The story concerns Mario, a young student at Columbia, who, faced with his father's death- a hot, idle summer in the city- and a corrosive inner unrest, leaves his girl, and a Professor Gordon who had known his father, and descends into a personal purgatory in Harlem. Here, as he tells Gordon later, he lives for weeks- half asleep- in the rooms of an old, wise Negro woman, and he becomes involved with a beautiful mulatto, Pearl. Their affair ends when Pearl becomes pregnant and violent and her other lover tries to kill Mario. Mario then turns to Gordon's long-time friend, Marge, who- like Gordon- is a frustrated intellectual. But when Mario seduces and nearly destroys Marge, Gordon recognizes his own love for her and damns Mario. Stung, distraught, Mario returns to find Pearl but she is dead- and Mario is saved from her lover Lou by performing an irrelevant act of kindness and by Gordon.... Not always rationally convincing, but with tremendous emotional and descriptive power through which the hot summer city, the driven humans, look out of words and darknesses.