This is a book wholly concerned with release. And naturally, the characters are all at odds with how to exactly achieve that in damn near every avenue of their lives. This is a compelling portrait of six people flailing about trying to make sense of the urgency of the early 70s, which has woken up to a type of nihilism that seemed repressed by the naivety and utopian dreams of the 60s.Every action that takes place within can only be seen through the prism of the suicide that takes place on the second page. Even though all the characters do not have direct dealings with O'Connell, the deceased, their every thought and movement seem to seep out of the storm his death brings, they all have to navigate through the debris field of a life exploded well before its expiration date. Arnott captures O'Connell's life amazingly effectively though only memory and the single act of his taking his own life. It is the other characters, the ones that actually breathe, that while mostly actualized, seem to exist in a stasis of looking for any kind of release that makes up this novel.From prior reviews, I was expecting some graphic sex as the living beings floundered around seeking a release into purpose. Alas, where there is indeed sex throughout the novel, it is far from graphic, unless, I guess, you think gay sex is graphic by nature.Amazingly, Nina, the only fleshed out female character, does indeed seem to conspire to finally fall into herself through sex, only she instantly sublimates her pleasure for a cause, a cause she does not even wholly support.Needless to say, the releases everyone is looking for, and that all find - at least momentarily, are explosive and shatters lives. The happy endings in falling into their release are not to be found here.Arnott chronicles this age far too well for his years, for something he witnessed only through the eyes of a school boy. I was unfamiliar with him before, but he is now on my radar for the future. Though, I would be far more interested in a less tragic novel, but as he makes succinctly clear, this was a tragic time and those who lived there could do nothing less than inherit the tragedy.