Reta Winters, 44 years of age, has started a new sort of life. She has discovered the meaning of loss for the first time.
For all of her days, Reta has enjoyed the useful monotony of happiness: a loving family, good friends, growing success as a writer of light fiction, novels 'for summertime'. This placid existence cracks open one fearful day when her beloved eldest daughter, Norah, drops out to sit on a gritty street corner, silent but for the sign around her neck that reads 'GOODNESS'. Reta's search for what drove her daughter to such a desperate statement turns into an unflinching and surprisingly funny meditation on where we find meaning and hope.
Warmth, passion and wisdom come together in Shields' remarkably supple prose. Unless, a harrowing but ultimately consoling story of one family's anguish and healing, proves her mastery of extraordinary fictions about ordinary life.