Despite the fact that anybody who has ever had to deal with drunken conversation knows it to be repetitive and almost always unrewarding, the author has created as persuasively interesting a pair of drunks as ever staggered across a printed page. Arthur Lewis, a pallid Englishman, and flamboyant ex-Bostonian Patrick Slattery are mid-50-ish drinking companions self-exiled in Spain. Lewis, with a varied and verifiable sex history behind him, pays respectful attention to Slattery, who boasts of being bisexual at a crazed level of performance, but can only document his occasional surrender to the urge to stomp a street Arab senseless. Lewis is convinced that he is an unsatisfactory lover for his much younger wife and he drives her away by arranging a substitute stud. Slattery is a manic mama's boy after all, an artist of great tenderness on canvas, but brutal on impulse. Their drunken travels in and around Madrid, their boozily revealing exchanges, their mutual concern and inability to reduce each other's obsessive self-destruction, is wickedly funny and tragic by turns. It is a short book and seems as likely to successfully transfer to the stage as Shaw's The Man in the Glass Booth (1967), another study of compulsion currently doing well on Broadway.