Ramuz, the Swiss writer, (When the Mountain Fell-1947--was very comparable in both theme and tenor) died twenty years ago and this is reputedly his outstanding novel. It is emphatically visual and like the country itself, everything is to be seen. High up, 7000 feet above a small village, is an area of pasture land which the villagers decide to utilize during the three months of summer, even though many years before it had led to disaster. Seven men volunteer to go up, among them the one-eyed outcast Clou, a child, a young man who needs the money to get married. Before long anticipated apprehension is translated into manifest reality; the cows come down with a disease; so does the youngster who is taken with incurable chills; another acquires a festering would which will not heal; and finally the contagion spreads to a holocaust of violence.... Ramuz, a writer of markedly descriptive and representational powers, suspends his narrative under an overhang of disembodied fear and doom. He's a traditional novelist, limited to the externals of the drama itself of man against an elemental force majeure. The mountains endure--the characters are almost faceless.