Vogan's latest look at contemporary trauma (Scenes from the Homefront, 1987; In Shelly's Leg, 1981) fizzles after a promising start. At 40, Emery Lannier is an ""Escape Artist,"" never staying anywhere or with anyone long; but after a decade of absence, she shows up at her parents' most recent home--they are perennial movers, too--upon the urgent request of Drew, her stable stay-at-home brother. It's soon obvious why Emery avoids her self-centered alcoholic mother and occasionally explosive father. Vogan captures the emotional tenor of their lives and describes the visible evidence--the haphazard housekeeping--with black humor and skill. But characters and plot become progressively less convincing after the Lanniers are burned out of their home and Drew lets them move into a primitive hunting camp; Emery stays on, though she can't say why. Plot complications include the reappearance of Emery's on-and-off-again lover of 25 years; the AIDS hospitalization of her best friend (and drug dealer); musings over the death in Vietnam of her sister Julia (with whom she apparently never exchanged a word); and intense, cryptic conversations with an emotionally damaged Vietnam vet to whom she's violently attracted. Emery's suspicions that her parents don't love her are confirmed, but in the end, she's able to embrace her commitment to them--a resolution that seems both inexplicable and unwise. Some sharp, immediate writing--but with too little credibility and too many hard-hammered little shocks.