A collection of short stories which together comprise a considerable slice of material with a definitely autobiographical aura. While each story- most of them very short, some scarcely more than vignettes -- stands on its own, and the ego is not too exactly defined, the reader gets a build-up of personality, traditional upbringing, the lares and penates of a New England childhood and schooling. One gets too a definite personality, through memory recalls, warm bits of interpretation of childhood agonies and joys, the pain of adolescence, the contradictions in human relations, the emotional set-backs of illness. For many; the appeal will lie in recognition. A gift for characterization, for perceptive and sensitive understanding, for sketching a story in swift strokes is to be expected in Nancy Hale. What is not so expected is that these stories have none of the brittle quality, the tendency to use shock techniques, that one has to expect in her novels. This is a Nancy Hale that may be looking Back not forward, but she is a more likable human being.