Of the novel’s ten major characters, only one, the priest, Austin Brierly, is known by both his first name and surname. The others are known solely as Angela, Dennis, Michael, Miles, Polly, Edward, Adrian, Ruth, and Violet—their individual identities nearly swamped by the homogeneity of their Catholic background. In creating a novel of nearly faceless characters, Lodge took a considerable risk, but one that is entirely appropriate to the novel’s larger meaning, for just as the characters search first for love and then for sexual satisfaction, which eventually leads them to the moral autonomy they both welcome and fear, so, too, does the reader find himself in a similar situation, trying to make his way through a narrative (as they do through a moral) labyrinth. The reader’s task is made all the more interesting and problematic in that the novel’s author, or rather its anonymous authorial narrator, frequently appears in his own novel, intruding in the narrative in order to comment on or digress from it. Even his attitude toward his characters is unstable. He, as well as the reader, can deride their naivete from his historically, or chronologically, privileged perspective, yet even as he indulges in this condescension, Lodge does not choose to dismiss them, treating them sympathetically and allowing them an individuality that both Church doctrine and the childlike way they are named seem to deny.