The author has written a number of treatises on the problem of world hunger and this is a passionate, quite lively reconstruction of that landscape witnessed as a child in Brazil. ""I had the impression that the denizens of the marshes--man and crab. . .--became more deeply embedded in the mud as they grew."" He tells a few tales of men, women and children near the city of Recife attempting to live with hunger: the young child Joan Paulo, finally sobered by loss of friends and hope; a grandmother valiantly protecting her daughter's name; a courageous leper; an intellectual, crippled, who led the suffering villagers in a mild act of defiance toward the authorities who try to destroy their homes; a jolly priest with a thunderous method of catching a succulent species of crab. A riot and terrible flood decimate the stubborn group of marsh settlers and the body of young Joan is never found, a body which in decay will serve the cycle of mud and crab. In translation from the Portuguese, an indictment in a folk-genre to which Mr. de Castro brings considerable skill and energy.