James Field as a single parent raised his daughter Annie, and it all but devastates him to see her grow up and run away to marry a degenerate coke-head like Cole Gilbertson. Yet that is what she does, not undoing her mistake until she's already had a little girl with Cole and finally realizes how dangerous a character, how totally out of control, he is. She returns home to Duluth, Minnesota, and lives with her child and her father and the father's unmarried sister Ellen. In time she meets an older, gentle man who courts, loves, and offers to marry her. It seems that her life--certainly as far as her anxiously protective father is concerned--is healing its worst wound. But then husband Cole comes back on the scene, wanting the daughter, and terrorizes the status quo. Bausch, whose Real Presence (1980) and Take Me Back (1981) were as gritty as animated Diane Arbus photos, takes a long time getting this story going--so long, in fact, that when the apocalypse finally descends, it feels ill-weighted, obligatory. Cole's desperate, drug-crazed last stand is hair-raising, however--and the best thing in a book that otherwise seems largely warm-up.