"This particular day was sunny but there was an awful chill, and not a damn thing Perry could do about it."
Perry's not only lost his girlfriend but also everything he owned after a mugging he can't remember well due to his drinking himself into stupor the night before (a habit he's gotten into). He's left with forty-five cents and Talia, a woman who's taken a liking to him.
Perry picks a fight with a friend before Perry encounters his muggers and must recover some of his stolen manhood. Yet, even so, he struggles with his guilt, fleeing police patrol cars, as if he were the criminal. Or is he?
The style, vision and writing here--at times reminiscent to Hemingway's Gatling-gun staccato--are superior to A Crack in Melancholy Time and Fractal Despondency. It has the same visceral appeal that helped spur Zelazny's cult following. However, the narrative pulse has been stronger: When Zelazny combines the improved style with such darker suspense and tightly wound plots like To Sleep Gently, he will rake in the accolades. Zelazny's upward climb continues....
Another good quote:
"He turned his jacket collar up and huddled into himself. The breeze was light but glacial. The sunbeams and shadows made illusioned pockmarks on the sidewalk and street. The cottonwood trees were all but dead. He wished he had a heavier jacket. He wished he had a lot of things, but... he walked. He was heading into town. He had forty-five cents in his pocket, which was enough to buy him nothing, and that was fine. What he wanted was nothing."