There is much that is affecting and witty in this first novel, which examines the pangs of a creative personality in exile. In a sense playwright Ben Warner does not seem exiled in a small Mexican town where he has lived a number of years. Enjoying the comradeship of Mexicans who set him apart from the Americans he deplores and they condemn, and luxuriating in the vigor and beauty of the town, Ben lives a tenuous financial existence, with the one ""good"" play waiting for a long-promised fulfillment. Yet when he has an affair with Martha, plain visiting school teacher from Iowa, and is visited by his former wife, Gerry, their recognition of his weakness brings his self-deception to an end. In the bitterness of a woman cheated of unselfish love and motherhood, Gerry determines to save Martha from being similarly used. Facing this, Ben then is forced to leave Mexico, for an immigration irregularity for which he is fully responsible, and, penniless and alone, leaves his playful dreams of security behind. Back in the States, however, in the depths of degradation, and without illusion, Ben eventually finds his manhood and returns to his writing. Mr. Marsh can create warm, vital characters, a stunning locale and rollicking humor, but the dichotomy in Ben's character seems not quite resolved. However, this is a writer of promise.