When Leonard meets Sylvia by chance at a friend's shabby Greenwich Village apartment, he's instantly besotted with her striking beauty and quiet disdain. For the young aspiring writer, drifting through the city, the question of what to do with his life was resolved for the next four years. In this remarkable semi-autobiographical novel, we are drawn into the world of a young beatnik couple living in Manhattan in the early 1960s, and their demi-monde of jazz, poetry, late nights and early mornings. But when Sylvia's depression and disturbances begin to emerge and take hold, their fights become increasingly violent and abusive, and their relationship drifts towards self-destruction. Written with extraordinary clarity and precision, this is a compelling portrait of the mad intensity, exquisite pain and destructive power of young love.