A coat of English fog. Hannah Shelden lies dying in an Edinburgh hospital, and as she weakens, memories come to fill her mortal space: a childhood obsession with her father, a platonic affair with a female teacher, her marriage to an older man and how she left him when she realized their child was fathered during an encounter with a young boy that she had determinedly blocked from her recall. Shorn paragraphs, fantasy dialogues, and occasional deathbed summations (""Hate is a black snowball that gathers momentum in a minute"") lend a drear that breaks only late in the book, when Hannah comes to grips with how she failed her beloved son. Before this, the book is flat and drawn; the mother-son conflict brings some heat and light. But it's too late with too little. Sutherland, in her American debut, is both clichÃ‰d and coy--and that's not the best of brews.