Still another case of reconciliation-to-death, coming-into-self--but the seaside town/summer resort of Southport, Conn., and the local passion for sailing, are the only elements that come alive. Teenager Madeline is back in Southport with her painter-mother the summer after her beloved writer-father's death--just after the two of them, out sailing, had caught sight of a strange, huge swan. Now, cousin Charles, whom she's been counting on, is headed out west; his boy-bait sister Lisa only reminds Madeline of her own unsmoothness; she doesn't know, in particular, how to deal with the attentions of Charles' ""perfect"" friend Arthur. And she resents her mother's attempts to rouse her from the doldrums: ""I don't have to change. My father loved me just the way I am""; etc. Meanwhile that strange swan keeps turning up, and elderly dog Flash keeps chasing it. There's a rapprochement with her mother; some happy camaraderie and a fight with Arthur; and a reconciliation with him too. Finally the two sail to the island Madeline and her father didn't reach the previous year--and to complete the symbolic wrap-up, Madeline sees ""patience and tranquility"" in the swan's eyes and resigns herself to Flash's death. With only cardboard characters and wooden dialogue, with hardly a scene worthy of the name, the book seems merely to go through some pre-set notions.