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It is 1980 and American literati are trying to decide how to rank Faulkner, Hemingway, and Lanning. The first two are dead and Lanning is coming on strong, but Arthur Lanning is bad mannered in his arrogance and his insulation from his reading public. He claims to have been born in Richmond, but the newspapers research the claim and find nothing. Suddenly he commits suicide above his isolated Sanctuary home in Idaho, and young Professor Zack Thohus is chosen to write his official biography. Thohus is a conscious Lanningphile; he frankly ranks Lanning ahead of Hemmingway. He is wondering, 6 months after the death, how he will be received at Sanctuary. He finds that it is solidly anti-Arthur. Beloved Ruth reveals her fifteen year marriage has never been consummated and, an early orphan, children had been her fondest hope. Siley Alcott, the general factotum, agrees with friend Ruth in every way. None of Arthur’s early promises to her have been fulfilled. Zack, feeling himself a psychologic twin of Arthur’s and something of a look-alike, is, of course, the central character. He knows something of the history of his own illegitimacy, and he has some of the same feelings Ruth has: a rich hunger for love, a thwarted parental need. He is falling in love with Ruth. Ruth’s gynecologist thinks she may have two or three opportunities to become pregnant, and Ruth’s body temperature chart indicates she is starting ovulation. This is the second them of the novel: love is all there is of good sex, but sex is not all of love. Good sex is shared sex. (Divided sex: one for you, one for me, is not shared sex. Shared sex is this and we for us.) “Rape is another planet: hate.” Well, if you are with me, the book ought to make it plain. Zack finds out that Arthur was a “bloody bastard” who didn’t write all of the good books. And Ruth gets pregnant three times and the first one has hair in silver curls like Zack, and all of them are theirs. In my books, the good guys with every time. It’s the way my world is run. Amen.