The success in the Mid West of the author's first book, April Snow (1951), lays a foundation of interest in this second novel, dealing again with Sweden of a generation ago and the obstacles an immigrant finds in gaining foothold in a new land. This is the story of a man who somehow failed to surmount those obstacles, who attained only in the hour of death a measure of grace and stature. Karl was firstborn and heir to the Norden homestead, but ran away in protest over his father's selling his favorite horse, and worked his way as a steward to America. His early years are a record of trial and error, eventually of a degree of stability in his marriage to a fellow immigrant, who keeps their children from want by taking in laundry. Karl cannot hold a job because his head is full of unproftable inventions and dreams of writing. Chicago seems unfriendly- but he will not leave it. And eventually, when his wife dies, he takes to drink. Not a sentimentalizing of the way of life either in Sweden or in America, but there is a note of authenticity here which confirms the impression of the earlier book.