Original, thought-provoking debut fiction about women artists and the choices they're often forced to make. Claire is a writer whose novel is taking over her life. Or, rather, her novel's protagonist, a shy, eccentric, beautiful sculptor named Nevada, is living a life that's becoming inextricably linked with Claire's own; the two women have become not just friends but actual players in each other's lives. While Claire struggles with her fiction and her real life (it's often hard to tell the difference, as she spends most of her time working on the book), Nevada struggles to free herself from a bad relationship with Alec--an egotistical but talented painter--and from her latest piece of art, an enormous shell that contains within it a world of its own. As Claire sits typing her manuscript in her room above the Orange Cat Bistro, occasionally banning Nevada to ``Literary Hyperspace'' when her character refuses to behave, she reflects on her divorce, her solitary state, and on a traumatic episode from her past. Throughout the weavings of truth and fiction, in fact, the author alludes to a dark secret shared by Claire and Nevada--a secret preventing both women from moving away from stagnancy and the wrong men and toward professional fulfillment and love. When the mystery is--with disappointing anticlimax--revealed, it seems to have little to do with either woman's narrative but fortunately is pushed into the background as Claire bids adieu to Alec--Nevada's (fictional) ex, with whom she's taken up--and Nevada finds true happiness with Nicholas, the romantic who helps her learn to see herself as capable of being loved. A promising debut--despite a wholly unnecessary stock plot device.