A simple and familiar tale, as moving as any other about doomed lovers when told with a certain gentleness and care--as this is. The old priest who had lethargically ministered to the isolated Scots peninsular community, has died; and young, handsome Father James arrives in the village where ""the same things happen over and over again. Even the unexpected [seems to have] occurred sometime before in the same way and in the same place."" Like the ambitions of Father James, both joys and coherences recede in the decaying village with its timeless insignificance. Among those who once aspired: Finlay, son of the senile laird, who both hates and longs for his dead wife, but finds no solace in his two daughters--tight-lipped Anne, soon to leave, and passionate, restless Meriel; wall-eyed Morag, housekeeper to priests, the ""harmless,"" perennial victim; and the aging alcoholic doctor who drinks just to ""catch one corner"" of long-ago rapture. The priest and Meriel become lovers, and their simultaneous deaths are as inevitable as the winter snows which cut the community off from the mainland. A sad ballad of old places and the old ways which bind--and strangle.