This is the most exasperating, conventional and derivative first novel of the year. Aside from some nature descriptions, it is a total loss. The plot pits the dam builders against the anti-dam builders in a Southwest town called New Monument. The dam is under construction in Twilight Canyon and is being built by Gordon Kingston, a man with a guilty past and illegitimate son, Gus. Gus himself feels guilty about having killed his wife in a sports car crash (she was truncated). A fault is discovered in the canyon walls of the dam site, making the dam dangerous, and so Gordon Kingston organizes a party to tour Twilight Canyon on rafts. It is both a business and a pleasure expedition, in that this will be the last tour of the famous Hell's Fire rapids. Actually, Kingston is expiating, as is Gus, his past by a trial by water on the river. Meanwhile, Kingston's ancient sin is revealed in fragments. There are some sex skirmishes between Gus and his father's mistress and between a bikini-clad young thing and her father. The story's method is early Faulkner: a round robin of interior monologues. The style often clots unbearably. Too much straining--everywhere.