A puzzler, this -- for it has undeniable power and validity and tremendous vitality, -- but, in an effort to give it authenticity, the author has written what seems at times a mannered and artificial regional folk novel. After the first fifty pages or so, one loses this sense of artificiality, and it returns only at intervals, as if he said -- ""This conversation must ring true!"" Crude, earthy, unconventional, yes -- it is all of this and more. There is the McClung family as the pivot of the story, -- Tod, who scorned education and all it stood for, and vowed there could be no competitor for him when it came to raising bean; his wife, Paybelle, who worked by his side in the fields, and bore him six children; her father, old Piddle, whose jaws were always chawing, and who had been a rounder from boyhood; the children, who lived --and died -- proof that Tod could have his failures, too. They came from Oklahoma in the '20's -- and took up their homestead in New Mexico, and made a go of it. The community whispered in shocked murmurs of their godlessness, their evasions of the laws, their crudities -- but they were indifferent and made their own place, and at the end, partly through the young school teacher who rescued two of the children, they found their place. Utterly amoral -- accepting, but with a certain sense of some of the dignity of human relations, the McClungs went their separate ways, and came to their bad ends. An author who will shock the tender-minded, but who should receive definite consideration. Public libraries -- caution.