This is one of those womanly novels described at one point as a ""Laurencian romance"" which pollinates feeling from one page to the next. Especially after Anna Pards who teaches and writes poetry has her first aqueous encounter (a pond in the pines) with Max Woolf who lectures and writes. He's married and has an old mother and a nympho daughter, Naomi; Anna's divorced and has a daughter who's younger and much less troublesome as yet. Anna and Max spend a month together, in the buff, and then return to the city to stop and start and stop the relationship. With or without clothes, Max is really a very glum sort over and above his insomnia, his tooth extraction, his mother's death, and then Naomi's. Naomi comes back to her apartment suddenly and has sex with the young man who's living in it (actually Max's stepson but the young pair have never met before), exsanguinates and dies. . . . This is Nancy Hallinan's third novel (the last one appeared ten years ago) dealing, she contends, with art and life and love. She hasn't much to say about art but she sure talks the other two to death in a rather concerned and enlightened tone of voice.