A compelling, graphic picture of 40 years in a Maine community, a novel of New England folkways, written with relentless cognizance of human indulgence. The characters are not the contained, puritannical figures expected in this sort of fiction, but hotblooded, with their strengths and their weaknesses. There are two families dominating the story; there's plethora of dramatic incident; there's adultery, arson, unbridled sexuality, warped things -- but all presented so quietly that one scarcely realizes them as morbid or unconvincing. There is something inexplicable in the quality of the book. Good reading, but not for the straightlsced.