From the Back Cover:
“…in his fifth book [MacLennan] has gained a new mastery over the two strongest elements in his work; the storyteller and the self-explorer are one. The effect is virtually to double his stature. The Canadian novel takes a great stride forward.” Robertson Davies, Saturday Night, 1959
In the deeply satisfying marriage of George and Catherine Stewart there is a shared danger: Catherine’s illness, which could, any day, cause her death. They also share an important memory – of Jerome Martell, who had been Catherine’s first husband and George’s closest friend, a brilliant doctor and a man passionately concerned with social justice, presumed to have died in a Nazi prison camp. It is Martell’s sudden return to Montreal that precipitates the crises central to this novel.
From that dramatic point, Hugh MacLennan takes the reader back into the lives of his three characters, and back into the world of Montreal in the thirties, when politics was a matter of fierce belief that could send an idealist across the world to Spain…then France…Auschwitz…Russia…China…and back, like a ghost, to his old home.