A variation on the Tortilla Flat theme in the assorted episodes that Jose Mercados and his wife, Mama Chula, and her mother, 70-year old dumb Madrecita, are party to in San Marque Canyon. Poco loco -- and much gusto -- for the tales of California Mexicans and their unworldly ways, their violent emotions, and their manana creed. They work only when necessary -- and that is seldom; they sell their little produce, buy wine and sometimes whiskey, they quarrel, and now and then achieve their ambitions. Mama Chula has her first drink of whiskey and proves a benevolent drunk. A housecleaning almost kills them as they use creosote to get rid of bedbugs; they turn a school opening into a fiesta that ends in the burning of the building; Madrecita runs away, finds treasure, and hides it again; they are completely defeated by an imperiously impoverished family. And finally, after twelve years of hopes, they have a baby in their home. More subdued than Steinbeck -- and with a folk quality and none of the sexual.