The Kirkus review is way off the mark, the usual drivel in search of profound statements. I don't know what he/she has been reading, but I will say, this is a story which reaches to the primal streak in all our souls. The story is fantastic. The detail is worthy of Michener but focused entirely around emotions and affairs of the mind of people, those elusive, rational yet clearly unpredictable qualities all of us are afraid of revealing or even thinking for fear we could get get comfortable with being the monsters we know humans are capable of. The story revolves around the fallacies of life, the follies of thinking, and the lines of so-called normality we all brush up against and fear we might cross. And this book lays out those fears, that indeed, in a different time and place, we are all capable of not only seeing the demons inside us most clearly but embracing them to act uncivilly in the most civilized manner. A great read, but be prepared to have a more than passing knowledge of Classical history. A good reference to the Classics will be helpful, for many of the references serve only to underscore the truly barbaric nature from hence we all sprang. On a different note, being from Vermont I was a tad dismayed with the apparent lack of knowledge of the area displayed by the author, which took away from the credibility of the story. Another failing on the part of the author and the editor(and contradiction) to clearly establish the time period. If it's the early to mid 60's (which is the right time frame for the feelings and practices) then there are at least three references which cause someone who pays attention to that consternation (I know, it's only a story!) I'll still give it 5 stars, and hope I never visit the depths of my mind as these characters do.