Paul has a full-time lover, an older English woman whose common sense and down-to-earth qualities more than compensate for her relative lack of passion. After all, he is surrounded by women clamoring for time with him in bed. So are all the other men in the story. When one of his sons dies suddenly during an operation, Paul is devastated and cannot make out what has gone wrong in his life. None of his current crop of friends has any insight to offer. Some of these questions become clearer when his sister, with whom he is almost unnaturally close, comes to visit.