Motley's theme is the changing face of time in the transition of an innocent Mexican village into a gringo tourist trap. The span is about twenty years and the story is told through hundreds of scenes which assiduously avoid a formal plot. The characters too are fragmented with the town assuming the leading role. Motley's use of persistent detail is to an extent self-defeating. In thirds, the novel presents the morning innocence of the village, when it did not have a single beggar; the noon of commerce when the gringo trade seemed to be bringing the village into the modern world; and the night of total, garish vulgarity. Characters, the rich and the poor Mexican families, the permanent and the transient gringo residents, often arrive and disappear in the same paragraph. Sexual scenes proliferate, even though their intention may not be primarily sensational. This is Motley's last book (he died in Mexico where he has been living for many years) and it will not have the success of his first, Knock on Any Door.