"I grew up on a farm,"--the year is l974, the place Sweetriver College, and Beatrice Wolfe is telling the story of her life to the glamorous young professor Philippa Sayres. So begins the achingly funny, often heartbreaking story of Beatrice's quest to escape the gothic eccentricity of her family and find an authentic identity of her own.
Married in a misbegotten passion, her parents are totally unsuited to farming or to any kind of business. When they finally lose their "farm," Bea's family spirals out of control. Still under Philippa's spell, Bea moves to the city of Hartford and joins a lesbian community, and becomes so committed to her new gay identity that she barely notices she's falling in love with a man--a man just risen from the ashes of addiction, whose re-creation of himself she threatens to undo.