Mrs. Buck, who still sees the world in a grain of rice, wrote this book, apparently, many years ago and left it incomplete and has now resumed it in the interests of world harmony although it is still pretty transient. Malcolm, who spent 25 years in the diplomatic service in China, returns to the U.S. to leave it and to live as an ordinary citizen with his White Russian wife Nadya -- surpassingly everything -- and their two children. In the South (where he thinks of settling) the eyes of the blacks are too disturbing a reminder of Russian serfs; but in Yankeedom somewhere, when they buy an old house, the natives aren't friendly, the minister makes unbridgeable distinctions between Christians and Communists, and Nadya hopes that a made-in-American child will effect belongingness while Malcolm goes out to speak on two-world togetherness. Yes, old or new truths remain ""eternal, whatever our times"" but then Nadya, their intermediary, ""sensitive as the high strings of a harp,"" is already closer to heaven. At any rate early Consciousness One.