This is an early novel by Japan's Nobel Prize winner, a sensuous, absorbing study of overriding obsession. Etsuko is the one possessed, by jealousy ... first of her husband who consciously feeds it and later dies a terrible death from typhoid ... and when met here of Saburo, an unsuspecting eighteen-year-old gardener. Etsuko has become the mistress of her father-in-law, an aging, dominating, eccentric landowner. The rest of the family view her with mingled feelings of jealousy and indifference. In this fatal interlude Etsuko slowly changes from the incurable romantic whose ""heart had not developed to the point where she could look at poverty, or imagine anything but happiness"" to a ravenously self-destructive woman looking for a complete misery which she abets by forcing Saburo to marry Miyo, his pregnant peasant girl. And when they appear to love, she deliberately sends Miyo away hoping that Saburo will castigate her and she will be finally cleansed--erased But Saburo is incapable of comprehending the complex patterns Etsuko has set up and for him love has no meaning. A tragic, intense work in a structured, classical tradition. It borders on contemporary myth.