Marshall Lockard’s quiet life at a quiet New Hampshire college is thrown into disarray when a female student tries to involve him in a dispute that includes another student, the college’s counseling service, and one of his fellow professors. Lockard, who tries to avoid emotional entanglements, is attracted to his student and responds when she flirts with him, so he tries to be helpful, but finds that events overwhelm him.
Jack MacCallum, the colleague who supposedly assaulted a female student, unloads his troubles on Sonja Lockard, Marshall’s wife. When she believes he is unfaithful, MacCallum’s wife stabs him several times, injuring him but not fatally. Lockard has to deal with this, and with the disruption caused when Sonja confesses to him that she has been having an affair with her boss, a real estate broker. She promises that the affair is over, but it is suggested that she is attracted to a lesbian counselor at the college. Lockard’s life is further disrupted when his stepmother, Evie, dies.
Partly to escape his troubles, Lockard agrees to drive a recuperating MacCallum to Florida during their spring break. On the way they make a side trip to visit the mother of the student who had involved Lockard in the mess in the first place; MacCallum and the girl’s mother had been lovers years earlier. MacCallum and the student then leave together, revealing to Lockard that they had been lovers all along. Lockard goes on to his...
(The entire section is 371 words.)
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