In monotones, this is a tragic story of emotional immaturity as it retreats to the borderline of madness, effectively projected against the sultry, faded, bleak country of the South African farming country. Its focus is Mary Turner, whose early upbringing by a drink-fuddled father and a bitter mother scarred her with many distastes, left her with many fastidiously unnatural responses. Pretty, girlish, and emotionally untouched at thirty, Mary marries Dick Turner, a farmer, is transposed to a life of bare necessities, loses her early restlessness to a later apathy, is only occasionally stirred by her hatred of the black boys who work for her. In the years that follow Mary loses what little respect she had for Dick when she realizes that incompetence underlies his many failures; she tries to leave him but is forced to return; and in the last years she is shadowed by the fear of Moses, the Negro whom she had once whipped but who now assumes an increasingly familiar power over her which attains its full revenge in her murder... The deadening atmosphere here, the external pressures which combine with inner weaknesses, all blend into a saddening and often compelling portrayal of deterioration.