Gerald Weems has just about decided what he wants out of life,-""a wife and children, a position of repute in a prosperous community, a comfortable maturity and an easy death"", when he meets Phil Fay again. They had been very close in youth but had separated when artist Fay had defied his father and departed for parts unknown. Fay learns now that his father has left a series of diaries, diaries which might explain to Phil why it was that the father he adored hated him. He returns to his home town with Sid Stein and his wife. Stein is also an artist, utterly involved in his own work, but slipping farther and farther into the world. So, the novel of interaction -- Weems upon Fay, Stein upon Fay, neither changing Phil Fay one whit. Fay is impotent; the world had done this to him. He attempts to resurrect his father ""so that he can make peace with his loins and be no longer impotent""... The Nature of Truth, The Catholic Church Today, The Artist in the World, the Irish American Community -- all these Curley writes powerfully and profoundly. For all those who enjoy puzzling allegory, there's that too.