Is it a memoir with names changed or a novel? I found myself not liking the main character because of the extreme self absorption. A stream of consciousness he calls experiencing experience--no question alcohol and drugs affect the experience and reflection on it. Sophomoric, pretensious writing, more biography than art. The use of spectacle --the drowning and the bombing --do little to enliven, and his "Aristotle" would agree. I want to read a more recent "novel" to see if Lerner has evolved. I like the way his writing flows, streams...the long sentences, and at least some nods to intellect.