Here is a book that suffers by being divided between the importance and excitement of India, mostly Calcutta, in 1946, just after the end of the war and before independence, and the more routine bustlings of a group of rather neurotic Americans working there along with their European and Indian friends. The Indian background of travel writing is well done, with Calcutta, Benares, Darjeeling, and an experimental farm coming in for their share of description. The Direct Action Day riots in Calcutta are vivid-while a visit to an Amerophile Maharajah's is carried off in spiritless style. The plot centers around John Wickham, 27, vice-consul in the American Consulate General, his affair with a Macon, Georgia, divorcee, his true love for a New Jersey girl who breaks out with eczema after they sleep together, his friendship with a colleague who is an anti-semitic Jew and a homosexual, and his association with various others of several nationalities as he tries to reach a mature attitude towards life. This is pretty pale stuff in contrast with the Indian material. It could, in fact, have happened anywhere and though the author tries to tie the plot into the setting he does not succeed. His Americans would have blundered on as they do wherever they are. Matters would have been helped if the author had an ironic eye or a witty pen.