A serenity prevails throughout this novel. Perhaps it is a serenity inherent in the life of a humble Irish village combined with the sensitivity, poetically transcribed, of Padraic Colum. At any rate this is an almost classical story on universal and particular levels written with understanding and compassion for people, Irish folk, and youth. The growth of Ulick O'Rehill as he passes from childhood to early manhood is framed by the circumstances of his parents' marriage. Robert O'Rehill married below his station at the expense of his future, for he relinquished his share of the Moylough fortune in so doing. Fraught with guilt and a discreet connection with another woman, he abandons his young son and his pregnant wife, leaving them virtually to fend for themselves in the hostile arena of haughty in-laws. Unloved and unwanted Ulick's mother, Saba, leaves the O'Rehills to return to the house of her father, Breasal O'Breasal and to raise her two sons fatherless in the midst of probing and often cruel curiosity. Saba's death, the return of Robert, the younger son's melancholia, Ulick's loss of his apprenticeship -these events come and go but the quest for self-discovery and justice persist. The memorable people whom Ulick loves or despises are genuinely Irish in tongue and manner, but one might find them in any country. A truly moving book for lovers of Irish literature.