A teasingly impalpable handful of short stories, mostly from The New Yorker, with certain recurrent devices and characters and themes dangerously flirting with the reprise. For example, the ""lists of the house,"" that large old house with its memorabilia of a near and more distant past, are used as a device in other stories, particularly that moving ""Shut-Eye Night Ride"" where a dying man jots down ""Hyacinths, Solarium, Tran?, socks, Myron, collaterals."" Speaking of hyacinths, most of the stories are filled with flowers, birds and all the little live things threatened by DDT and affiliated killers. Death in fact is a constant here--there's the mother who takes her life after weeks of assorted complaints or the girl whose day is built up, via the confessional booth, toward an abortion (""Day Old Baby Rats""). These aren't the only transients--there's the man who lost his wife and family trying to paint alone, perhaps only to fill in the outlines of an empty future; the young wife and mother not wanting to be either, not wanting to be anything. . . . Julie Hayden's random, mobile, vulnerable, sometimes discontinuous manner is all her own; sometimes it's touched with humor (""What time is it? Half past May"") and always with grace.