More California whimsy from the author of When Your Lover Leaves... (1980) and Sightings (1987)--this one detailing the misadventures of young Rome Morrison, a college dropout who dreams of becoming a writer, and the eccentric family she hooks up with. ``I live a life of deceit,'' confesses Rome on page one of this sunny tale, and never afterward does she utter so profound a truth. Having quit college and run away from her wealthy Boston home (her father is a famous chef, her mother a recent suicide), she has moved into her best friend's apartment in San Francisco, assuring her roommate that she has a job (though she doesn't) and planning to write novels until she doesn't win the Nobel Prize, since Daddy says no good writers have ever done so. First, though, she needs rent money, so she lands a job as assistant to Wade DeRosa, a young writer with a flourishing modeling career on the side. Rome takes dictation as Wade dictates his morbid play about a family dinner party in which the bad son, ``Dark,'' pretends to poison his mother, while the good son, ``Light,'' attempts to save her. As Wade's own neurotic mother drops in and out of the house, muttering about finding glass shards in her coffee cup, Rome begins to suspect that the play is autobiographical--particularly since Rome currently is tending to an unidentified coma victim in a hospital who precisely resembles Rome's description of his own missing brother. Lo and behold, the coma victim and Wade's brother, Rusty, are one and the same, and as Rome engages in playful affairs with both brothers (and their mother really does die), she must decide which of them is really Light and which is Dark, and which of the two is most appropriate for a young writer to love. Trott indulges in the very pratfalls, flukes of fate, and general playfulness that most novelists avoid, making this prime cult-audience material--for lighthearted eccentrics only.