If a clever young Englishman wanted to write a novel in his spare time, without getting too involved with his theme, he might write a book like For Love or Money and afterwards, call it: ""A Gay, Sunlit Tragedy, the story of a strange family of ordinary people."" The novel deals briskly with three generations: Ruth and George, an adulterous couple living and drinking in the country on Ruth's money for fifteen years; Steven and David, Ruth's sons (the paternity of David is uncertain); and to a lesser but more sympathetic extent, Steven's wife and young son whom he abandons. The story begins when Steven is in his first year at Oxford and David is in prep school and when Steven has just discovered that George has an apartment in London where he squanders Ruth's money on another woman. He tries to break up his mother's liaison but fails and in his own lifestyle proves far more calculating and malevolent than the hapless George who, after a brief trial in the workaday world, is again rescued by Ruth. George's presence assures David's freedom from the dominance of his mother. Steven simply disappears. The treatment--an exercise in the conservation of emotional energy--is oh so cool and can only leave us that way too.