Though ostensibly about a woman's loss of her father, Plain Grief deals with the myriad losses of life. Unable to cope after her father's death, Sarah Holms begins attending a grief therapy group, and, finally, is able to acknowledge her husband's infidelities and loose herself from her long-dead marriage. Her husband Larry has long since lost too much of himself in marriage and family. Her daughter Carrie flees from the family as it falls apart. And her niece Deenie, an anorexic, fades out of her parents' lives both figuratively and literally. But with loss comes endurance, love, and renewal: real life. Chernoff's poetically crafted novel owes much to her beginnings--she is the author of five volumes of verse. Interweaving a variety of characters' perspectives and time frames, her novel should appeal to readers of Gail Godwin and Mary Gordon. Highly recommended for most fiction collections.-- Francine Fialkoff, ``Library Journal''