This short novel, like the author's more successful 'The Heart is a Lonely Hunter', is about loneliness and failed relationships. Set on a US Army base in Georgia, a captain tries to ignore an affair that is going on between his wife and a major, while the major's wife slides into ill health. The captain's repressed homosexuality draws him towards a love-hate relationship with a soldier, who is himself obsessed with the captain's horse-loving wife.
If this sounds complicated it is handled in such a way as to be easy to read, though certainly there are a lot of subjects covered here, subjects that are obviously close to the author's heart. Besides homosexuality, loneliness and failure in love, she also touches on religious excess and voyeurism. McCullers peaked very early in her life, at 23, battled ill-health and died at 50. Her writing shows an amazing intelligence and a distinctive style, though I think this book could have been better if it was developed further as I found the characters a little shallow. I didn't care very much what happened to them.