Lou Donovan, one of two philandering businessmen who are the focus of the novel. The forty-one-year-old’s activities in the hotel business keep him traveling almost constantly, primarily between his Chicago base and New York City. At home, he is mostly faithful to his aristocratic wife, Mary. On the road, he consorts with party girls before becoming entangled with the manipulative Trina Kameray. Lou is also haunted by the compromising presence of Francie, his first wife, whom he has kept secret from Mary. Lou grows during the course of the novel, becoming cynical about both business and romance.
Jay Oliver, Lou’s comrade in business and adultery. Nagged at home by the shrewish Flo, he relaxes in New York with the more worldly, glamorous Ebie. When one of Lou’s ventures fails to be realized and Jay’s business suffers, he leaves Flo for Ebie.
Ebie Vane, a successful commercial artist. She once intended to be a serious artist but turns her back on Greenwich Village for the comforts of Park Avenue. Bored by the sameness of her bohemian friends, she is drawn to Jay, despite his vulgarity, because he is different. She eventually settles for a life of leisure in rural Connecticut, giving up her identity to serve Jay’s wishes.
Mary Harrod Donovan
Mary Harrod Donovan, Lou’s wife and mother of their small daughter. Twelve...
(The entire section is 412 words.)