The Cajun region of Louisiana, with the surviving traditions of honor of a bygone age, with a perverted sense of humor and an equally perverted sense of what constitutes innocence, provides background for a violent initiation into an adult world, as small Clotillia is witness to life and death, birth and rape. Clotillia had been kept ignorant of the ignominy surrounding her birth, of the father who had been whipped off the plantation, of the mother who had carried her head high in a belated marriage and had died a violent death. Clotillia had been brought up by Tante Annette, who ran the household and the plantation and set the rules of upbringing, by the softer Tante Cecile, and by her guardian Oncle Odon, who gave her laughter and understanding. But Odon was dead, Therese carried his child, Therese's husband sought her out and killed her. Clotillia saw it happen; she saw other things too, the death of her kittens, the birth of the foal, the union of her uncle's dog and a bitch in heat. She suffered what she feared was attack by Andre's father; she was terrified when her own father embraced her. Each new discovery was wrong for her and her childish innocence was rudely uprooted. The whole devastating succession of experience is told through Clotillia's eyes and distorted misinterpretation, told in stream of consciousness, with some of the beauty, some of the dialect distortions of language which makes now for rhythmic, and again for awkward reading. A strange and frequently unpalatable book. Too Latin for our Anglo-Saxon sensibilities, perhaps.