It's two years and more since I read, with mounting excitement , Far From Customary Skies, feeling that here was a new and promising talent. Now comes this -- and the power and the passion remain, but the compassion has disappeared. Gone too seems to be the ability to make his people live. While no one of his central characters, in the two families that provide the main drama, is a stock character, neither is any one of them wholly credible. They seem figures drawn out of torment, recalling, in their abnormalities, their excesses of deviation, like figures from the Faulkner world of Sanctuary. Here is a story of the clash between the agricultural backwater and the surge of big business in iron and steel in Pennsylvania in the early decades of this century. Three generations are spanned:- the first, still clinging to the vision of peace with prosperity and dignity; the second, caught in the pressures of competition; the third, accepting violence, strikes political short-changing, as a way of life. And against this, the story of the Langs and the Pierces-social elite; and the Mijacks, up from the mines, and accepting baseness as inevitable wherever their paths lay. It is a strange, disjointed, unpalatable tale, overlong- and, I found it, often dull.