collection of short stories with rural settings and characters ruminating in various stages of misery. Among the wretched of this bleak earth -- a young child being taken to bid farewell to her brother who is about to be executed; a trio on the verge of rape and murder; a weary little waitress succumbing to an understanding of the meaninglessness of existence; a bride-to-be groping for nerve endings and immersing herself in a violent orgy with shady strangers; a creature named Blind Boy Robin complete with knife and invitation to his victims to share the world's sin; sprawl of drunken students and an old man blearily facing the torments of his life. The author seems to exploit the fatal flaw but too often they are just hinks in the armor. Too much hellfire for the slight frames of her characters. all the stories the title tale is the best- for the author seems to deal effectively with the fuddled mind -- particularly the fuddled mind in torment. Strong n subject -- thin on treatment.