Harry is the elder of two brothers of well-to-do parents living in New York. He is a concert pianist and is used to travelling. He is meeting his parents and brother at a hotel in Paris. His is a very close family, and Harry usually looks forward to these family vacations. But this time he is anxious because he feels he must confront his mother with the fact that he intends to remain in his homosexual relationship with Bernard. His mother has always been upset about it and won't accept it. But instead of this planned conversation, Harry learns that his mother has cancer and is dying.
Harry and his mother have this very intense, complicated relationship, which is illuminated in her illness. Now he must do his concerts, deal with his mother's dying, maintain his relationship with Bernard, and it's all too overwhelming for him.
The relationship with Bernard breaks down, and he really questions his sexual identity. He has a series of affairs, one even with a woman, Helen, a long-time supportive friend. This relationship doesn't last either, but Helen is the one who tells Harry it's like he's travelling in a boat made of diamonds, but it's a stone boat, and very hard to sail.
This report prepared by Tena Van't Foort