Set in Sweden circa World War I, these stories range from ersatz peasant tale to first-person memoir. The heroes are mostly heroines: caustic great-aunts, simple nuns, tubercular belles, ebullient maidservants. The author (whose last book was The Seeds of Hiroshima, 1966) sometimes long-winds and heavy-hands her meanings, suffocating the nice descriptive bits and the basic theme of Learning About Life. At worst we find a little girl who not only gets told in one day that she cannot torture animals, fondle little boys, or live forever, but goes to sleep in the foetal position dreaming of forbidden pleasures. At best, excellent magazine fiction with a big, chiefly feminine, audience potential. Although Dylan Thomas liked one story (about a dipsomaniac couple) the collection has no literary stamina because the author spoils her simplicity with bathos and sententiousness, her Dinesen streaks with I Remember Mama.