The examined life, at some length if to no particular end, is that of Hamilton Norris, a congenital loser and, by the close of the book, a self-admitted failure. His wife had died in a gratuitous accident; his daughter is away; he teaches in a school, writes poetry, and is a Catholic convert whose faith is not enough as he engages in many dialogues with doubt re right and wrong, good and evil, etc. On the other hand there's his old friend Frank Harrington who has a great deal more energy however misdirected--he's now trying to appropriate the woman Hamilton loves, or does he? And then there's Mary, forty-one, pregnant, who has left her husband and child at home for another lover and then Hamilton--Mary, Mary, whore-madonna, more loved than loving... All of this proceeds with a certain surface intensity which may catch your curiosity without really involving you and the contemporary nowhere limbo is New York and environs. Most of the characters appeared in the earlier (1962-Atheneum) Past Eve and Adam's.