Effective first novel from newcomer Harrison, whose work has previously appeared in Harper's. Here's a writer of plain prose who isn't confined in from-cradle-to-mall minimalism. Harrison writes about apparently simple folk whose lives, when they're peeled back, reveal layers of pain, malice, even transcendence. Bobby Sauls, a retired fisherman, is frittering away his golden years on the Florida Gulf Coast. Bobby and his wife (""Mother"") operate a harmless cottage-motel off the beaten path, and this is the location that Psychic Ike, an aimless biker, chooses temporarily to occupy. Ike, whose casual palm-reading abilities have given him some claim as a psychic, believes that there is something extraordinary about Bobby's motor-court. Claiming that ""Something very powerful and beautiful is going to happen here,"" Ike triggers Bobby's imaginative faculties, not to mention his desire that something unusual would happen. Convinced that he can be an observer of such an event, Bobby--something of an idle dreamer to begin with--focuses his mind on what might constitute the miraculous in his life. At the same time, it gradually becomes clear that the lives of Bobby and his family-Mother, pregnant granddaughter, her husband--are hopelessly mired in a chain of incestuous relationships and inane disputes. When, inevitably, Bobby begins witnessing unusual events, it's not their actuality so much as his willingness to entertain them that transforms his own experience. Controlled, smoothly paced work.