Maxine Kumin has written poetry as well as many books for the young; now she is writing about the somewhat older young in feminine, as against domestic, terms. At the soft center of her first novel is eighteen-year-old Joanna Ferguson, a junior at Radeliffe and full of free-thinking ideas as well as surfacing emotions. They have partially been encouraged by John Fairchild, a graduate student at Harvard, and all the then left-of-liberal affiliations, the Young Communist League, the Friends of the Lincoln Brigade, etc. Then there's the fact that John is a Negro ""percolated pale."" The novel itself goes backwards and forwards, in time and place, to Joanna's home in a southern town where her father Jacob, a Jew and a money lender, is now being investigated. Joanna, with her new convictions, testifies against him and as the book opens Jacob has given her a large shiner. The actual book dissolves into sequences: Jacob's thoughts about Jews and Negroes expressed in ""Hath not a Negro"" as well as ""Hath not a Jew"" terms: into Joanna's feelings for John and her rebuff; and finally to the closing scene when she returns home to witness her father's death, the ""lasting incommunicado."" All of this ripples with a good deal of emotional and intellectual Sturm und Drang and sympathy is the fixative which attempts to hold it together.