This slight little book (it scarcely qualifies in length as a novel) is concerned with a young woman's attempts to impose some form on the events of her childhood and to deal with the horrifying incident which shatters all her patterns and escapes her own analysis. Anna Marie Wade lives with her husband, a forester, and their young daughter in the ""forest wilderness"" of Uwharrie County, North Carolina, where she grew up. Her recollections of her youth, spent frequently with her younger brother at their grandparents' house, and of the very artifacts of their existence--her grandfather's Bible, the poker with which he stirred the ashes and recalled his own young manhood, are so detailed and so lyrical that the intrusion if the grotesque seems all the more startling. After the death of her grandmother, who was a woman of some refinement, Anna 'Ree's grandfather, Paw-Paw, married a Coarse, silent creature who was called Aunt Beck. One evening Anna 'Ree' witnessed Paw-Paw beating his second wife to death in her bed with his poker, having previously murdered his own grandson. Paw-Paw was discovered later hanged in the barn. Anna 'Ree' relates this horror to her husband on a visit home by way of explaining herself, but he instead absolves Paw-Paw and Anna Marie is still left to find her own way. Primarily an exercise in sensibility, The Edge of the Woods is poetic and delicately written, but its consistency is about as substantial as gossamer.