It's difficult to avoid concluding that the only reason this first novel ever got past manuscript is because it concerns a lesbian love affair. It is so unrelievedly dreadful that just a summary of it imposes a logic that the work itself nowhere even approaches. Here is Claudia, married at nineteen to a 58-year-old friend of her father because of a pregnancy which she later miscarries. No, it's not Southern Gothic, it's Craxton-on. Ice, ""a small town on the Hudson River."" Into this town comes Andoline Sonbar, a hooker from Brooklyn who takes up residence with Claudia in the Nail Hotel where they are befriended by fey twin brothers, one of whom constantly stutters. Earlier Claudia had given birth in this hotel to Justin who was thereafter raised by foster parents somewhere in the area. Claudia drinks herself into an institution, ""Aunt Andy"" lingers in the Nail, and Justin is last seen trying to make a male companion in the local saloon. Never mind the readers. Releasing this book, which is utterly confused in every way -- in plot, sequence, narration, dialogue -- is a real injustice to its author.