This is a remarkably human and sympathetic novel of a peasant village in China and how its people weathered the changes which came with the introduction of Communism. The story is told in terms of one household in a village where life is simple and the mood serene, despite the feudal regime that holds the people in debt to Chumin, the landlord, who has raised their rents during a famine year. Refugees driven from other villages by famine are quietly organized into a people's army, and in a sudden move take over the territory and give the villagers their oppressor in chains. Bewildered, they accept the revolutionary regime until reactionary forces reverse the process and once again the village is subject to Chumin. Civil war closes the local factory, reduces the family income, brings the father and brother home on a visit, and the brother breaks with O Ran, destined as his wife. A revolutionary student, the youth prefers his city ""comrade"". As the battle area comes closer, the boy who tells the story and his mother leave their native village. The gentle, tradition-bound spirit of the people is realistically portrayed. Not since Village in August by Chun Hsiao has there been anything that gives one so vivid a sense of life going on in the midst of local civil war. A rewarding reading experience.