This is a book which can even be considered "hard" SF, and in some ways a precursor of things to come. In a world where only a small island is the remainder of civilization, of high tech, human kind has also found the key to immortality. But to avoid population pressure, people must thrive hard and earnestly to reach the amaranth status which grants treatment and be cloned and inmortal... People strive, or go crazy (more and more) or are culled by executors when their period ends. Those who stay sane look for oblivion at Carnival, some kind of lust quarter of the town.
When the main character in this novel, an amaranth aristocrat is found guilty of murder, he hides as well as he can. But then he is discovered by the newly renewed amaranth and he has to get her erased... And she is reborn from her clones and searches for him, never tiring to make his life miserable. The end is not very happy, but neither very sad.
This is a very un-Vance novel, if you have read his later works of fantasy SF: claustrophobic, gore, sombre. The hero is neither calm nor fair nor glamourous. One could say it predicts some aspects of what cyberpunk would become or PK Dick would write about: dirt, stress, clones, social darwinism, outcasts, despair, webs, centralised nets. When you watch "In time" you get more or less the main idea of this book, only this was written 40 years earlier.
So if you thought SF was only Star Wars... read this.