Hardcover - In this first novel, a woman's difficult experience of existing numbly under the shadow of her husband's confinement in a mental hospital is eased through her involvement with the denizens of the communally arranged household next door. Laura, the woman at the center of this extended family, inspires in Ruth surprisingly powerful emotions which propel her into a self-realization that releases her from her past. Edelson possesses a strong sense of humor and a remarkable ability to use images in the grotesque and realistic styles of Flannery O'Connor and Gunther Grass. She involves the reader in the gradual but monumental processes of change enveloping the characters, processes echoing the passage of American society through the Nixon era. This is a rewarding but demanding fiction; its primary audience will be those interested in literary technique.