Heaven Is a Sunswept Hill

ByEarl Guy
THE human race comes off second-best in this novel of the Mississippi on a spring rampage. The Drindle family, Sam, Matty, and two small girls, illustrate the desperate yearly struggle against high water, but the reader is likely to take less interest in the individual Drindles than in the obviously accurate details of how to bolster up an inadequate dike and how to ride out a flood in a rickety scow. Water dominates the book as it dominates the lives of Sam Drindle and his neighbors, and the author does a good job in describing shifting currents, floating debris, “Red Crossers,” and incidental drownings. What he never explains is the fascination of life behind the levee, which keeps people like the Drindles at their unprofitable farming, at the yearly risk of their lives.