Seven years of married life and sixteen years of working for the same newspaper leave Erik Dorn feeling empty, bored, and segregated from life. An extramarital love affair offers only temporary satisfaction -- it is the European turmoil of World War I which provides an opportunity to abandoning his banal Chicago existence and becoming a participant rather than an observer in life. Upon returning to Chicago Dorn finds his wife re-married and his love for the other woman dead. Only emptiness remains.
nto telephones, repeating with sudden listlessness the pregnant details of the news pouring in; and scribbling it down on sheets of paper ... "dead Grant park bullet unknown 26 yrs silk stockings refinement mystery."
Idlers lounged and discussed loudly against the dusty windows hung with torn grimy shades.
Copy-readers, concentrated under green eye-shades, sat isolated in a tiny world of sharpened pencils, paste pots, shears, and emitted sudden embittered oaths.
Editors from other departments, naïvely excited over items of vast indifference to their nervous listeners, came and went.
An occasional printer, face and forearms smeared with ink, sauntered in as if on a vacation, uttering some technical announcement and precipitating a brief panic.
Toward the center of the room, seated at desks jammed against one another in defiance of all convenience, telegraph editors, their hands fumbling cables and despatches from twenty ends of the earth, bellowed items of interest into
Slow-moving, rather tedious tale of a selfish and unlikeable Chicago newspaperman with an unaccountable appeal to women. He abandons his adoring wife and elderly father for a young, single woman, ruins her life, and goes on to Europe, where he destroys a few more people. Heavy-handed and rather pointless.