These fragments must speak -- for me, for them."" The me is Ralph Hicks annotating his own greatest trespass -- the failure to love. The ""them"" are all the people who shared his life until his wife, Ellie, took hers and they are guilty of other kinds of derelictions. There was his father who left him with nothing but the original sense of loss. . . his proud, proprietary mother. . . the woman his father loved who took him away from the family. . . his cousin locked up in an asylum. . . the homosexual Bernard. . . but mostly Ellie whom he drove to her death, the ultimate transgression. Mr. Bailey, who is considered one of the more interesting younger writers, has used a modestly experimental technique to tell his story in an acrid, disjunctive, monochromatic fashion. But all the broken pieces of the past fit closely and explicitly to put Ralph Hicks back together again and to voice an affirmation which will rise above the unshriven despair. Still his chances of survival seem more hopeful than the book's.