Depicting the hopeless, emotional polarity of a young couple, this novel follows their doomed marriage spent in a remote, tropical hell. She—described only as "the girl"—is young, sophisticated and sensitive. He, "Mr. Dog-Head," is an unreconstructed thug and heavy drinker who rapes his wife, otherwise passing his time bludgeoning rats with a tennis racket. Together with a visiting stranger, "Suede Boots"—who urges the woman to escape until he is banished by her husband—these characters live through the same situations twice. Their identities are equally real—or unreal—in each case. With slight variation in the background and the novel's atmosphere, neither the outcome nor the characters themselves are quite the same the second time. The constant question of the jungle "brain-lever" bird remains unanswered: who are you?