Written and published in Ireland, this sketchy novel describes the decay of an Irish village in prose that mixes grim realism with Irish poetry. A summer drought overtakes the village of Deevna. Without water, the town stagnates and smells. A child dies of fever; the local Don Juan emigrates; so does a young girl, and many nameless others. Some men get into a dreadful drunken battle. An old, crippled story-teller burns to death in his bed. By the time a diviner has found water, which is augmented by rain, most of the townspeople have either left or died, as they have from many Irish towns. This intended larger, or symbolic, meaning tends to flatten the story; intended to represent the overall decline of the Irish village, the book makes its characters, too, representative rather than real.