Cecelia Capture Welles, 30, is on the skids. She goes to law school in Berkeley, true, but her estranged professor-husband Nathan and her two children are back in Spokane, Washington. On her own, she drinks too much; she has sex that's too casual and unsatisfying. And Cecelia seems generally ringed around with the prophecies of failure represented by her dead father, Will Capture--an Indian who married a lower-class Irish woman, who had dreams (he was a boxer, wanted to be a lawyer), but who ended up a convict and a drunk. Cecelia's own early years, starting with childhood on the reservation in northern Idaho, began even less promisingly: dullness at school; neglect at home; early escape to California (where she was seduced by a hippie later to die in Vietnam); unwed, welfare motherhood. Only through dogged persistence did she ever go to college, meet condescending Nathan, and get as far as law school. But now Cecelia's hard-won status seems to be imperiled: she's been arrested and held on drunk driving charges. . . with the thrown-in complication of an old welfare-fraud charge. In other words, Cecelia is the quintessential marginal citizen--woman, Indian, lawyer/convict. And, on every page, in every thudding cadence of Hale's undistinguished prose, this novel is her litany of woe--without the supporting characterizations or contrasting textures needed to frame Cecelia's misfortune, without the narrative or psychological force needed to transform a case-history into dramatic fiction. Some sociological interest, then, but little literary/storytelling impact.