As a young man, Bill Argus abandoned his wife, their young son, and his family's dairy farm in the Sonoma County hamlet of Pianto. Now sixty-three, the once-famous photographer is overcome with the need to find forgiveness from those he left behind. Journeying back to the small dreary California town, he is disoriented after finding a ragged skeleton of the boyhood farm he remembers, and a family unmoved and indifferent to his return.
Bill's awkward homecoming is seen through the eyes of his second wife, Nora (twenty years his junior), who has her own troubled family history. Bearing witness to Bill's reception in Pianto sparks in Nora a revisiting of her own complicated past, and soon, she too sets off on a spiritual journey to explore her own parts unknown.
Set against the wild beauty of the California desert, this deftly imagined first novel lovingly maps the diverse terrain of the human heart as it probes the intricate bonds of family and the complex nature of forgiveness and love.