Ill, young Peter Conrad, having accepted an invitation to recuperate aboard the Mediterranean yacht of a family friend, has pre-voyage visions of a large, white ship. Imagine his Twilight-Zone surprise when the yacht, peopled by total strangers, turns out to be an exact replica of his fantasy. Imagine his distress when his equally perplexed fellow passengers--Mrs. Sedley, her elderly cousin, her young nephew, and two androgynous ""others""--proceed to tell tales-within-tales of deep, mythical significance (the Dalai Lama, Satan, et al.) and astounding pretentiousness. ""The Story had done little to explain anything other than in metaphorical terms,"" Peter muses after one stupefying interlude, and he's not kidding. Of course, according to Mrs. Sedley, ""it is not a bad thing in a tale that you only understand half of it."" Easy for her to say. In any case, by the time that one of the ""others"" drowns suicidally, the journey is over (all 96 pages of it), and Mrs. Sedley (according to the other's suicide note, anyway) calls out: ""And think of the story you will tell."" The pseudo-parabolic story that Robert Ferro has chosen to tell is not worthy of his prose, which, at its best, is quietly proficient.