An earnest first novel records a few episodes which take place in a small New England town where a strike in a steel foundry immobilizes the economic facts of life for some five hundred workers, while setting off unpleasant to tragic incidents. Seth Gormley, who had devoted himself to working and caring for his epileptic younger brother Mike, ""marked"" as well with the body of a twelve year old child, worries that he may have to send him away to the state asylum, kills him, and then loses his mind. Shortly, the superintendent, blows his stack during a union-management negotiation, incurs the hatred of the men, and gives up his job. Pete takes his place, sends his wife and children away, and gives in to the temptation of a local nymph- Nancy; Linus Marble, always a spectator on the fringe of other men's lives, gains the courage to attempt one of his own; etc., etc. Simple people, in the grip of basic needs, from survival to sex, this may well be true to life (Rhodin was a steelworker) but it's still a long way from literature.