A book of George Washington which describes more than 100 norms of courtesy is used as an excuse to entitle a complaint over the manipulation and hypocrisy of the dominant class in New York at the end of the 30’s of the 20th century. The main plot of the story runs parallel with the Spanish Civil War and is present all throughout, also when the protagonists go and fight in favor of the Republic.
The novel intertwines the lives of 2 women who work as secretaries to different representatives of the American high society. Religion and the search for transcendence are toppled by extremely frivolous relationships and lifestyles. Abortion and other forms of exploitation are trivialized favoring regulations that will later on end up disappearing, like so many other things in the postwar world. Surprisingly, critics see this work as a homage to the New York of the 30s: frivolity is not simply the patrimony of that epoch.