THE DOCTOR'S HOUSE opens with a woman exploring her own brother's sexual appetites, uncovering his myriad betrayals of his wives and lovers, and of her. Nina, a reclusive copy editor, should have better things to do than track her brother's escapades, but since her husband's death she has become solitary and defensive, and just as obsessive as Andrew. As the novel unfolds, the story of Nina and Andrew is retold by their mother, who at once illuminates and undermines her daughter's account. Finally, the brother speaks for himself, and the deeper Beattie takes us into Andrew's mind, the more his perspective suggests that Nina might be both less innocent and less detached than she maintains. In the guise of exploring their memories of the past, Nina and her mother repress them.