A parable about disunity is based on the animosity between two troublesome towns in Ireland -- Waterville and Corkbeg -- kept apart, not joined, by the bridge over the Dara and focusing their quarrel on which town is the birthplace of the patriot and poet Brian O'Rourke. There is a Montague and Capulet theme in the romance between the rival mayors' children; there is the one-sided romance between spinster Harriet and schoolmaster Arnold whose forgeries increase the stature of O'Rourke and create evidence about where he was born; there are the ""furrys"" of the youthful bands of Werewolves and Vampires; and there is the Apolstle who bewails the folly of his fellowmen. With a statue in each town to be unveiled, the ill feeling mounts, the forgeries fly faster, the young hooligans retaliate to vindicate their elders, the ""star-crossed lovers"" know no peace. The Apostle's act of blowing up the bridge shames everyone into gestures of amity -- and, just when friendliness is about to break through, chance starts the fight all over again. Funny in its presentation but not in its intent, this plays up man's irrationality, points up universal problems in microcosm, and stirs its Irish stew with a sturdy ladle. Readers of this author's previous books (The Graces of Ballykeen, etc.) will find this up to expectations.