This is the story about the relationship between two brothers.
In his younger days, Edward admired his adventurous older brother Lawrence, who was six years older than Edward.
Years pass, Lawrence leaves home and hasn't been seen by Edward for fifteen years when he shows up at Edward's door, unannounced and in need of food and clothing.
Edward has become a successful eye surgeon while Lawrence is an out of work card dealer.
Initially, we don't know why Lawrence has come to his brother's home. It seems as if he might want to re-establish the relationship with his brother.
Lawrence does win over Edward's five-year-old son, Jonathan. With the boy, Lawrence acts insanely, flopping on the floor or making monkey noises while at a family outing at the local zoo. While Jonathan enjoys his uncle, Edward is skeptical.
Then, in a revealing moment, Lawrence asks if he can remain with Edward for a while. Callously, Edward refuses. Edward gives his brother some money and drives him to the bus station.
The story continues and as if Edward regrets that his brother has left, Edward narrates his early days with Lawrence. Nothing really happens in the story. Edward is a passive, sermonizing character with little to like. Lawrence is a Machiavellian, out for whatever thrill he can get.
The novel had mixed reviews and I continued to read, expecting the story to improve. It didn't. Cardboard characters, uninteresting plot, and a novel without a message. Need I say more?