The quest for meaning and relationship in an alienated urban existence leads to a world beyond the mundane in this humorous, absorbing story. Fat and over forty, Ethne is not happy. In the flat above, Derek, thin and over forty, is frightened. When Mortimer comes into their lives with panache and pathos, he spins fantasies for them through which they discover surprising strengths. A variety of stressful human problems—unrequited love, sinister religions, astral travel, dog training, and homophobia—are made all the more poignant by the novel's lightness of touch.