This novel by an American ingrate and egoist would make a great short story. Set in fictional Gibbsville (Putzville would be a better name), PA, it tells of a mans transition from success to self-destruction over a three day Christmas holiday. Bulking out the work are bios of many of the characters, most of which do little to add to the plot, but do create a compendium of the underlying character of the community, or at least part of it, if one can assume that these are representative of the mores of the whole. The absurd actions that lead to the eventual denouement somehow do not seem to stem from what we learn of the main character, although his fate may be predestined to that of his Grandfather (albeit over a much more serious matter). The best part is the title (although no one except OHara seems to have liked it) that predicts the ending. The author adopted the title from a vignette in W. Somerset Maughams play, Sheppey, who, in his turn, relates an ancient Middle East tale. The vignette is reproduced as an epigraph to the novel.