It's hard to explain let alone describe the hard-headed, really bloody-minded, drive of Ella Leffland's Mrs. Munck (1970) and now this better and more identifiable novel dealing with the scratchy, where not rubbed raw, relationship between two characters who can be had -- up to a point. Namely Johanna, a painter, who emerges from a background of trailer camps and flop-houses and finally a German household firm with honor, purpose and Kultur. She's now thirty odd when she meets Morris, a ""sexual fascist"" with a magnetism for apparently any woman, a gambler, and ""undependable. Un-everything."" He's spent his forty years testing low IQ youngsters and working as a Suicide Prevention volunteer -- he now dreams of perhaps becoming a psychiatrist. While Johanna finds that the more she loves Morris, she loses herself and her ability to paint. Once private, self-contained, remote, she yields in order to hold him -- agrees to show and sell her work -- sees him blow everything at a casino. Morris then goes off to Big Sur; Johanna seems dialed on self-destruct and freaks in and out of the militant head scene of the Haight which is reproduced here not only with immediacy but all of its terrifying temporariness and dissolution. The stuff of life as some lived then in the mid-60's. Still it is Morris and Johanna with their un-shriven intensity which give the book its strength and hard-to-shake persistence. Ella Leffland is a considerable writer.