Joe Allston, the retired literary agent of Stegner's National Book Award-winning novel, The Spectator Bird, returns in this disquieting and keenly observed novel. Scarred by the senseless death of their son and baffled by the engulfing chaos of the 1960s, Allston and his wife, Ruth, have left the coast for a California retreat. And although their new home looks like Eden, it also has serpents: Jim Peck, a messianic exponent of drugs, yoga, and sex; and Marian Catlin, an attractive young woman whose otherworldly innocence is far more appealingand far more dangerous.
Retirees Joseph and Ruth Allston find their placid, rural California life disrupted by a hippie who builds a treehouse on their property and by a young married couple tragically affected by pregnancy and cancer. ``Quite simply, a beautiful novel--strong, moving, wise, funny--as topical as today's newspaper,'' said PW.