David Kepesh is an eminent cultural critic and star lecturer at a New York college-as well as an articulate propagandist of the sexual revolution. For years he has made a practice of sleeping with adventurous female students while maintaining an aesthete's critical distance. But now that distance has been annihilated.
When he becomes involved with Consuela Castillo, the humblingly beautiful daughter of Cuban exiles, Kepesh finds himself dragged helplessly, bitterly, furiously into the quagmire of sexual jealousy and loss. In chronicling this descent, Philip Roth performs a breathtaking set of variations on the themes of eros and mortality, license and repression, selfishness and sacrifice.