A posthumous novel in the form of a journal, and occasional letters -- that of Helen Calder who moves out on her marriage and away to Maine, repudiating the life that was -- a ""sense of culture without nature."" Alone on an island, almost always alone, the landscape stretches out (for pages) in tones of gray and white and ""pearl of fog"" and there are artifacts to go with it as enduring as those stoneware pots. She writes, quilts, gardens, draws; she takes one lover, almost as faceless as she is, who dies suddenly; she becomes still more involved, in spite of herself, that anonymous self which dissipates at the close, with a neighbor Elmo Hale, a lobsterman, who imposes himself and his protege on her in sexually assaultive (and simultaneous) episodes of greater and greater degradation before she disappears. . . altogether. Helen, as the book corroborates throughout, has been unable to find a place for herself in this world but her disengagement is a liability that almost any writer would have difficulty in overcoming with the additional handicap of a man projecting through the persona of a woman.