This remarkable novel, suppressed in 1957 and published by Dalkey Archive for the first time, is concerned with a day in the life of a stagnant, aristocratic Scottish family in the 1950s. As the family prepares for its annual Christmas dance, old rivalries and tensions flare as John Harling arrives to visit his sister Mary, who has married Duncan Mackean, next in line to inherit the estate left by Colin Mackean, dead two years now, but very much alive in the memory of the current family, presided over by Alan Mackean and his wife Augustine ("Tin"). By the end of this nerve-racking day, John tells his sister that "this life, which you lead here, is incestuous" and that her husband Duncan "is in love with things he should have left--long ago. Soil, place, family, the past--roots...One must have courage to travel light today." That night, Duncan and Alan go out shooting; only one returns alive.