The Faulknerian prose in this book is quite exasperating in the beginning, with its endless series of self-correcting clauses, amendments, or rather the ""or rather"" that seems to lead only to a restatement of what was already said, an endless circling round to pin down the remotest shadings of a thought.... until one comes on the subject matter of the book to which the style is exactly suited. There is little plot. An old woman, one of two, is dying in a country house in France; the other, her sister, with her husband, son and daughter-in-law, are there in the house, amid the scent of rotting pears from the orchard. They are waiting for the implacable fact of a death which has not come by the end of the book, but which has, by then, infected all of them, even the daughter-in-law's love affair, even love, even life. The rambling series of images, insights and scenes have the cumulative effect of forty days and nights of rain; a deluge, a waste, that would be unbearable without the oblique downpour of poetry that has produced it. Not, obviously, a book for the casual reader, but the final scenes are shocking and memorable.