'Back in those days My Old Man was king of what they called the three-martini lunch. This meant that in dimly lit steakhouses all over Manhattan my father made bold, impetuous deals over gin and oysters. That was how it was done. Publishing was a place for men with ferocity and an appetite for life.'
Cliff Nelson is the privileged son of an editor at a New York publishing house. Having dropped out of college he's slumming it around Greenwich village, enjoying the nightlife, booze, drugs and the idea that he's the next Kerouac. Eden Katz arrives in New York fresh-faced and filled with ambition to realise her dream of becoming an editor. She has to develop a thicker skin and adopt an imposture of her own in order to succeed. Finally Miles Tillman, a black soon-to-be Columbia graduate and publishing house bike messenger, is an aspiring writer who feels he straddles various worlds and belongs to none. Their choices, concealments and betrayals as they reach for their goals ripple outwards leaving none of them unchanged.