Michael Ingram has a lonely existence as a twenty-eight-year-old consulting engineer. Almost all his work is done with computers and transmitted to clients electronically. His hobby is cabinet making, but he alone sees and uses the products of his workshop.
He finds solace in with Jacquie, a sex worker who visits weekly. After one of Jacquies visits, they discover a teenage girl, victim of a brutal assault, dying in the road. Michael gets her to hospital. Jacquie warns him not to get involved with the filthy little rat. He rejects her advice.
While still in the hospital, Jenny begins to draw and reveals great talent as an artist. She sketches a rat in a cage to represent herself. Her mother being untraceable and in any case hated by the girl, she decides to live with Michael.
Jenny creates a sculpture of herself and Michael fused and growing toward the sky like a blossoming tree. Jenny grows and matures.
She makes friends and brings them into Michaels life. Under her influence, he too begins to develop. The pair must be careful about how they express their affection for each other.
The novel tackles the topic of sexual consent as well as issues plaguing the foster care system.