Like Rip Van Winkle returning to his home town to find that all has changed, Nathan Zuckerman comes back to New York, the city he left eleven years before. He quickly makes three connections that explode his carefully protected solitude. One is with a young couple with whom, in a rash moment, he offers to swap homes. From the moment he meets them, Zuckerman is drawn to the erotic challenge of the young woman, Jamie, and all that he thought he had left behind: intimacy, the vibrant play of heart and body. The second connection is with a figure from Zuckerman's youth, Amy Bellette, companion and muse to his first literary hero, E. I. Lonoff. The once irresistible Amy is now an old woman depleted by illness, guarding the memory of the man who showed Nathan the solitary path to a writing vocation. The third connection is with Lonoff's would-be biographer, a young literary hound who will do and say nearly anything to get to Lonoff's 'great secret'. Suddenly involved, as he never wanted or intended to be involved again, with love, mourning, desire and animosity, Zuckerman plays out an interior drama of vivid and poignant possibilities.
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