Jameson Frame is a minor poet, a disinterested scholar, and a sometimes television talk show guest who is haunted by the idea that the best part of life is behind him. He impulsively trades the cold canyons of Manhattan for the sun-drenched Bedouin village that is Venice, California, home to wiccans, vegans, transients, artists, drummers, plastic surgeons, tarot card readers . . . and Chase, a youth of such arresting beauty that he becomes the object, the subject, and the reason for Frame’s obsessive yearning. Yearning, for Frame, becomes a hair-trigger thing, as his desire for youth—the restoration of his own, the possession of the boy’s—sets him off, unmoored, on a journey through all that modern culture has to offer by way of consumption, enjoyment and release, only to find himself ultimately caught in a downward spiral.