This is a true story about the time and the world we live in.’ Williams has made it seem true – or at least curiously and suspensefully possible – by the extraordinary skill with which he wrings detail after detail out of a young woman who has lived with horror. Anne Meacham, as a girl who has been the sole witness to her cousin’s unbelievably shocking death, is brought into a ‘planned jungle’ of a New Orleans garden to confront a family that is intensely interested in having her deny the lurid tale she has told. The post-dilettante’s mother is, indeed, so ruthlessly eager to suppress the facts that she had the girl incarcerated in a mental institution and she is perfectly willing, once she finishes her ritualistic five o’clock frozen daiquiri, to order the performance of a frontal lobotomy. A nun stands in rigid attendance; a doctor prepares a hypodermic to force the truth; greedy relatives beg her to recant in return for solid cash. Under the assorted, and thoroughly fascinating, pressures that are brought to bear, and under the intolerable, stammering strain of reliving her own memories, Miss Meacham slowly, painfully, hypnotically paints a concrete and blistering portrait of loneliness … of the sudden snapping of that spider’s web that is one man’s life, of ultimate panic and futile flight. The very reluctance with which the grim, hopeless narrative is unfolded binds us to it; Mr. Williams threads it out with a spare, sure, sharply vivid control of language.