Owen Mackenzie's life story abounds with sin and seduction, domesticity and debauchery. After growing up in the small town of Willow, Owen marries the elegant and remote Phyllis, his college girlfriend. But this soon leads to his first betrayal and he abandons his reserve, embarking on a series of affairs and sexual encounters in New England and as far as Las Vegas. Nevada. This is in America during the revolutionary sixties and seventies, and Owen's profession as a computer programmer does not shelter him from the era's reckless appetites. Owen's pursuit of happiness, in a succession of small towns from Pennsylvania to Massachusetts, brings him to the edge of chaos, from which he is saved by a rescue that carries its own fatal price.