Translated from the Spanish, this novel is a realistic account of a small town Spanish fiesta and its corrida. The town is squalid and noisy; its bull ring a ring of carts drawn up in the town square; and the fiesta chiefly a haphazard brawl. Into this untidy stage setting, Rafa, a young torero too poor for a university education, and hoping for a career in the ring, comes for his first bullfight. With him is his assistant, Aceituno, a failure and a frightened man. These two talk over their fears and hopes in their shabby hotel room; outside some of the townspeople reveal their relationships. The bullfight, after this wait, is at first also an anticlimax- but finally the inexperienced bull hideously gores and kills the inexperienced Rafa, and Aceituno, in a passion of terror and grief, kills the bull with superb skill and is promised the career he no longer cares much about... There is a magnificent ugliness and irony in these latter scenes-and the book has a harsh realism- the people and animals remarkably alike in their ferocity, actions and resignation to a climactic day.