Admission: I'm biased because my first exposure to Hand was by a less well-known but I think superior book, "Waking the Moon". Nonetheless, this was an enjoyable ride and clearly a sign of her evolving style. Here, she writes in pseudo-autobiographical detail about a drop-out aging punk whose depression and addiction keep her from dying but also from living. As always, Hand excels with pungent prose, her descriptions often dripping from the page in their sensory impact. Her setting is as stark as her prose isn't. It's hard not to notice that her description of place here overwhelms her story, which plods slowly along for the vast majority of the story. The last act was vintage Hand: brutal, horrific, mystical, and deeply twisted. I just wish she has infused the rest of the novel with the same animation.