A first novel by a new talent, this story of a young girl's unfolding into maturity has the swift intensity of unerring compassion, a rough but rugged honesty. Miss Wilkinson has the uncanny ability to reconstruct convincingly the child's world of brilliant, raw receptivity to a world a-borning, together with the curious simplicity of a defensive emotional response to an alien adult order demanding constant adaptations, variations. Cary's infinite discoveries-- in woods and fields, fairy gold glittering in streams, small animals, pain and joy -- are constantly imposed upon by adult circumstances. After the death of her Indian father, a tenant farmer, a death callously accepted by a late arriving doctor, Cary is sent to live with her white mother whom she hates. Dark and light obsess Cary, as the inverse necessity to cherish herself, the misfit, leads her to cherish a tiny Negro albino child, Jasper. But Jasper tramples on some of Cary's enchanted mushrooms, and Jasper's death and the knowledge that the Negro blacksmith is her mother's lover and could have been her father threaten the sanctity of her identity. It is Johnny, her childhood friend, who helps her see the need to release her captive miseries and in his love she moves toward womanhood. In her grandmother's house, a faded ""Indian"" diary reveals Cary's roots, giving her heritage a place and a name. The imperceptible is irrevocable and wondrous. An exciting new novelist amid the Southern scrub pines.