Juilliard-trained Abby plays her violin in a folk-music trio called Three-Legged Horse while she fiddles her way through an unstable marriage to an absentee husband--in this adagio performance from Hood (Waiting to Vanish, 1988; Somewhere Off the Coast of Maine, 1987). As a young girl playing her violin in Washington Square Park, Abby met enigmatic artist Zach. Her ideas fueled Zach's creative ability and, before long, they joined forces and got married. But by the time Abby became pregnant with their daughter Hannah, Zach was already drifting away for months at a time to live his own life, pursue his own pleasures. Twelve years later, Abby has grown used to the pattern. She supports herself and her daughter by playing her violin, and every summer she welcomes Zach into her arms as he returns from his other life on the West Coast. But change is in the air. Abby's two partners have had enough of Three-Legged Horse, and, as the trio breaks up, she is forced to reassess the rest of her life--finally facing the fact that Zach has not exactly been playing solo all this time in California. As Abby seeks solace in a private hospital, the book's focus shifts to adolescent Hannah, staying in New York with her soap-opera star grandmother--and it's a welcome change. The staccato relationship between cleareyed Hannah and prima donna grandma really picks up the pace after Abby's long languishing. Hood's writing has resonance, and Abby's plight seems real enough. But she's never strong enough to really pluck our heartstrings.