Any outline of this many panelled story of a Pennsylvania town in the '80's would sound like many another story taking the reader behind the scenes, showing how the upper crust -- the ""best people"" lived, and how life wasn't all glitter even for them; showing too how the other half lived -- and that there were glimpses of glory even in poverty and degradation. But somehow it isn't like any other book. It's not great literature -- it is overwritten and padded and labors the point at times. But it is alive. Ant the people -- for the most part -- breathe. You see the barriers of arbitrary social divisions beginning to break down; you see old shibboleths cracking and breaking; you see, from small town angles, big town problems of racial division. And focus for all in the town, good and bad, is Dr. Dan Field, who had silently loved Pris all their lives in Willowsprings, Dr. Dan who served the people in Mudtown with even greater passion than the people in the big houses, Dr. Dan who helped both sides understand each other. It is his story, and that of Bert who would be a doctor, and Sammy who was just like his father, and Ray who was some day going to know all there was to know. A book with a real chance. Winner of the $20.000 Doubleday, MGM prize novel award.