Go back nine years to Hoxie Sells His Acres for Christopher LaFarge's earlier experimental novel in verse. The setting the same locale- coastal Rhode Island; the village and some of the people, at a somewhat earlier time. This new one is more sharply definable as a novel of mood and people, rather than a novel of regional flavor. It is a bitter, unhappy book, of goodness put at a disadvantage by passions too long in leash, by youth at flood tide. It is a story too of the devastation wrought by pettiness and malicious gossip. It is a story of marriages at dead end:- the Mallins, he spoiled and drained of creative flow, bored with his wife and seeking fresh fields; the Lamys, seeking to keep alive an old love, with the wife a neurotic invalid, the husband too kind for credence- and Jennifer, step daughter, seeking to fill the gap; the Westens, a wholesome couple with happy, normal children- bright light in a drab picture. A town hearing on a zonning issue sparks the story; ancient feuds revive and new ones are formed. There's fuel for thought here, and the story holds reader interest to the close. But one wonders- is the medium of verse perhaps not a hindrance rather than an aid?