In resonant, clear-eyed prose, Anne Bauer's A Wild Ride Up the Cupboards expertly maps the ferocity and anguish of a parent's love for a child. Young couple Rachel and Jack find their gregarious toddler Edward turning slowly, inexorably inward it's not autism but something more ambiguous, and perhaps even more frustrating for the child's moments of lucidity. Over time, they fight desperately to bring him back, to a place his doctors, schools, and the world at large deem ''normal,'' while still raising two other, healthy kids. Bauer also intercuts the story of a great-uncle whose own illness may hold the key to the boy's withdrawal. By no means a fairy tale, Cupboards is a sharply drawn wonder; only the too swift, jackknifed conclusion breaks the spell of her exceptional storytelling.