One thing about this journey has been an entirely new understanding about what women can mean for one another, and men for one another. . . how the world is opening up, how separated we have all been, by fear and by taboos. How deprived."" So says Laura, a woman in her sixties, who is dying of lung cancer and is determined to ""die in her own way"" at home. Laura finds she cannot ignore her family, and she explores her relationships with them for her final ""reckoning"" to discover the ""good connections."" There is Laura's mother Sybille, once beautiful and beautifully ruthless in exercising her power within the family of three daughters. Sybille is now senile in a nursing home--but the antagonism of the women toward the mother still rankles. Laura, a widow, has two sons, one buttoned-down and conventional, the other a homosexual artist. And there's maverick daughter Daisy and Aunt Minna, who reads Trollope to Laura. However, it's two women outside the family who really stir Laura to celebrate those ""good connections""--a young lesbian author and an old, loyal chum with whom Laura had an intense (non-sexual) friendship when both were students in Paris 40 years before. More about female intimacy than the dying and death of Laura--and it's a gentle, willowy business, without any real bite. Delicate almost to a vanishing point.