Leonard Cohen boldly traces the youth and early manhood of Lawrence Breavman, only son of a Jewish Montreal family. For Breavman, ife is a quest for beauty and truth, a kaleidoscope of colours and sensations fed through the high-speed projector of youth: the half-understood death of his father; the adult games of love and war, fantasy and pain; his secret experiments with hypnotism; the absorbing wanders through Montreal in half-light with beloved confidant Krantz. After achieving literary fame as a college student, Breavman flees to New York. And, although he has loved the bodies of many women, it is only in the arms of Shell that he discovers the potent totality of love and its demands. Only then is he able to grasp the sacrifices he must make.