When Thoreau remarked that most of us lead lives of quiet desperation, he must have been reading David Adams Richards. For Those Who Hunt the Wounded Down (McClelland & Stewart) is Richards' latest novel, continuing his examination of life as it is lived in small-town New Brunswick. There is no uplift here, no comedy, no folksy down-East fiddle-playing sentimentality so familiar from the CBC. The story is a downer; bad things happening to battered people. But the book is a triumph. It is beautifully written, spare and muscular and illusive, much like the personalities of the main characters. Richards is a national treasure, giving voice to a place and a class that Literature usually ignores.