The author is the narrator of the book, so we see the events through his eyes. At first, I thought that the book would be boring to death and would be super long, but hold on because after 15 pages you will get into to the book. The first 15 pages are less interesting because they talk about Elliott, an American living the high life in Paris. We get to see that Elliott plays with people for their social status; the author plays the game and tries to fit in the world of Elliott to observe him. Elliott throws a small party where the author gets to meet his sister, Mrs. Bradley, her daughter Isabel and her soon to be husband Larry, and Mrs. Bradley’s decorator Gregory Brabazon. They talk about redecorating the house for a bit, which gives us an insight on everybody’s personality. We see how Elliott loves to talk about people behind their back and spread rumors when he tells everything he knows about Larry’s past. Thus we learn that Larry had a past of running away and that he went in the air force. The author goes to Isabel’s party where he has the chance to meet her friends. Once again we can see how the social status is important to them, that is the first thing they mention when they want to give a quick idea of who someone is.
We then meet Henry Maturin, a pitiless business man who’s son asked Isabel in marriage during the war. Elliott explains that she never actually said no, that she just waited for Larry to be back before deciding to stay with him. They talked a lot about Larry and Gray because they argued on whether she was taking a good decision or not. Elliott thinks that his sister should have forced her to get married to Gray because he comes from a wealthy family while Larry doesn’t have a job and doesn’t seem to want one. He says that it is ridiculous to let young people choose who they will marry. We learn that Larry is going to Paris and that Isabel doesn’t want to break their engagement, that she will wait for him. Elliott thinks it is crazy to wait for Larry and he says to the author that he wants to introduce Larry to an older woman in Paris to become her lover, he says that there is nothing better for a young man. Isabel asks the narrator to have a discussion about Larry, about what he heard from her uncle and about what actually happen. We can read all the discussion between Larry and Isabel about his departure. He says that he has to leave because he sees how the opinion of her family and friend affect her. Ultimately she is the one to propose to leave him space because she really loves him. He tells her that if he doesn’t find himself in Paris, if he is still unhappy or still confused on what he wants to do after more or less two years of living abroad, he would come back and take a boring job.