A change of setting, Rome as against the U.S., and mood, certainly less sombre,- from her earlier novels, this is a conte which relies on curiosity for its interest and still leaves some unanswered questions and unfinished business at its close. A young American painter abroad, and in economic difficulties, is approached by a disparate couple- an elderly Egyptian, Isak, and his appealing, pregnant Polish mistress, Mara, who- after years of drifting in exile- is still ""stateless"". While first refusing their offer- money in exchange for the marriage which will legitimize and nationalize the child to come, he gives in, attracted by their ""wiles and guiles"" while disliking his own part in the deception. The wedding concluded, the three of them take a postnuptial trip together. He falls in love with Mara who is not above betraying Isak, and who at the end, perhaps deliberately, relieves him of pursuing the fraud further..... An anonymous first person tells his story with mixed but evident emotions- from the initial sham to the shame which later attends his involvement with these odd characters and ambiguous circumstances. But while attempting a certain air of worldliness, it is by no means free of affectation. Limited.