The restless, displaced Australians in Janette Turner Hospital's lush, impenetrable stories are constantly on the move, making connections and then losing them, often drifting out of touch with reality. In ''The Ocean of Brisbane,'' old friends Brian and Philippa (who reappear in several eerie, linked tales) return to their hometown for a quick, fraught visit. The haunting ''Night Train'' consists of little more than a stop-and-start conversation between their anguished voices in the dark. ''For Mr Voss or Occupant'' reads like an abstruse gothic horror story: A divorcée and her daughter move into a house with a creepy history, and the daughter soon disappears. The writing in North of Nowhere, South of Loss is beautiful, but Hospital provides so little exposition that figuring out what's actually happening is sometimes a serious challenge.