The first half of Brandt's novel brims with wit and manic energy. Narrator Frederick Case is a struggling London film producer whose movie-star wife, Sophie, has recently left him for a famous (and famously well-endowed) actor. In addition to a broken heart and shattered ego (''Here I am, the unwilling hero of the film of my life-of-undetermined-genre, and I'm not even a sympathetic character''), Case has hypertension, a dwindling libido, and money problems. As he careens around town, taking meetings and compulsively testing his blood pressure, you wait for Case's inevitable crash. But instead of giving his protagonist's life a decisive turning point, Brandt scripts a prolonged and madcap denouement that lets the air out of this promising story in a slow, disappointing hiss.