On the order of A Snail's A Failure Socially, another smalltown bunch whose foibles you'll recognize and remember--like Uncle Gavin Stokes ""who lives on dreams and schemes and relatives"" or Abigail, a thorn among roses, who ""as soon as she teethed. . . bit her nurse."" There are eccentric children and sassy senior citizens as well as exceptionally unromanticized animals (""sheep are a bore""). What's best is the uncompromising and forthright treatment of the not so rosy: Auntie before and after her stroke, the dwarf who sees his height as just right for shining shoes, the response to a fix-it man (""I lost a hero, I suppose,/ The day he said he could not fit/ The petals back onto my rose""). A very personal style--humorous and colloquial with offbeat innuendoes.