Although this lacks the strong emotional undertow, the intensity that has characterized Mauriac's novels, it is nonetheless an expert portrait of the disintegration of a wealthy upper-class family when the father suicides after a bankruptcy leaving his wife and three children with nothing save a crumbling country estate. The eldest son completely withdraws from the outside world; the daughter, Rose, engaged to the weakling son of the woman who had exacted the return of all the funds in the hands of the deceased speculator, and brought about the ruin of the family, still hopes to marry the boy. But gradually the rift widens as Rose, out of the milieu of their courtship, loses her social desirability. And finally the youngest, working the estate, marries a peasant girl and goes to seed. Not as holding a book as one would expect from Mauriac, but exceptionally skillful characterization.