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The whole tapestry of a community- presumably a Maine coastal town -- comes alive in a somewhat intricately woven story told on many levels. Ruth Moore has fined down her gift as spinner of salty folk tales, in this more ambitious novel -- and created two major plots which -- after devious circumlocutions -- come together, against a background of a whole town. The Wilkinsons provide the central characters:- Amos, who is gutting the town's property for his own ends, sacrificing any that come in his way; Lucy, his wife who cannot stand out against him, even when it comes to their daughter; Connie, who had ""married"" a waster and a rogue- and come home to confess that the marriage was a fake, that her man had deserted her, and that she had born a baby, dead at birth. There is too the most beguiling character in the book, 82-year old Clementine, who pretends she is mad and an alcoholic to protect herself against the greedy Amos, until Connie, thrust out by her father's rage, takes over. And then there are the Randalls, with the triplets that cost Amy her life and left their father desolate. And there is the Randall packing industry, on which he had pinned his hopes to bring a community back to life. Violence and hate, death and disaster, are here in a story in which the passions take their toll -- and the characteristics of people find their own fruition. That the end result is perhaps a trifle fortuitous can be forgiven in a richly rewarding reading experience.

Pub Date: July 11th, 1962
Publisher: Morrow