The ten short stories collected here mark the first book publication of Evan S. Connell, Jr., a young unknown. Thematically, a large portion of the stories juxtapose one element which is contrary and strange upon another. The interaction of these elements results in many levels of mood and color. A black condor bird arrives into upper crust Kansas society; a traveler who has been enlightened by his experiences returns to the home of his birth and encounters what he perceives to be a wall of ignorance; a Tennessee mountain woman rushes to the urban doctor with her sick baby only to be indirectly informed that the wretched bundle is dead and isn't she stupid not to have taken appropriate precautions; an art teacher, born to passion for his craft, realizes that instruction in the nature of art to American students is impossible and tries an unusual technique which is neither understood nor appreciated. Either the characters are distinctly American or, scenically, they live on American ground and reveal modalities of American thought. The scope is defined by a cultural area which is wide enough to offer a range of colorful situations and restricted enough to encourage levels of feeling- the latter are mainly pensive. The appeal of this collection directs itself to the reader who is interested in mood and psychology rather than plot.