A hauntingly beautiful novel which handles sensitively and compassionately the problems of Paul, a gifted youth who has escaped reality into a nightmare world of schizophrenia. His family -- a loving but perpetually frightened mother, his bully of a father who wants him committed, the brother who seemed all the things Paul was not- and the haunted house where he was starved of food and heat and comfort, combined to drive Paul into a kind of madness, where his obsession of an alter ego who wrecked the good that might accrue, set him apart and alone. With the dual loss of his brother and his mother, Paul faced the terror of his father's ego, the determination to put him away -- and his gentle madness took on new forms. Only the rescue by his Uncle Douglass, his acceptance (not always easy but always attempting understanding) by the family, his relative freedom to seek out the beauties of nature to which he was in, brought a kind of peace and healing. As the story closes this healing is threatened by his father's return, but it ends on a note of hope when Paul turns from the imminence of murder to a realization that in his uncle he has the source of strength and security and love he needs. There is some of the most poignantly beautiful writing Josephine Johnson has done in these pages. But the subject matter is painful and harrowing -- and of very special interest.