This has so much good writing that it is too bad it is such an unrelievedly dreary book. A portrait of a Welsh mining family -- a way of life crystalized in one tragic day in which events of the past and threads of events are drawn together into a macabre whole. There is Ma, worn out from years of drab toil; Pa, a paralyzed dummy husband; there is Sarah, loved both by the eldest son, Evan, who had disappeared eight years before, and by Thomas -- and who, in Evan's absence, had given herself to a Lascar lover; and there are the two sons, for Evan returns in time to fall victim to Thomas' jealousy. There is death and murder and horror in the story; there is no sense of development, but simply of blind fate. Descriptive power -- yes; but no design. A strange book, for a sharply limited audience.