The Australian girlhood of the daughter of Indian emigrants emerges from these feminine short stories, portraying her family and friends, elderly reactions to the new, second generation assimilative tendencies. The most amusing introduces Paddy-the-drunk, a handyman who threatens to leave if addressed by women, respects the family's (Muslim) drinking prohibition but hoards a supply of brandy in the nearby hills. . . until Uncle Seyed comes upon them. Paddy sickens from deprivation, weakly asks them to send for the priest, finds to his chagrin that Father Harrigan diagnoses acute fabrication--no medicinal alcohol for him. Equally pleasing is the case of a Muslim father's resolute aversion to a son marrying a Christian; he is a model of opposition until he sees his grandson: ""you see. . . the child always wins."" Also, a grandmother's Pakistani girlhood recalled with contented distance from an old photograph; confused responses to the first abusive ""nigger"" from white children. Surely the situation lends itself to crisis--and humor; here it is often crystallized with a touch of nostalgia. Nice--if you can ease readers past a dismal-looking jacket into a drab-looking text.