Bill Chambers has come home from the second World War with several fingers of his right hand missing but with his will to restore his family life intact. He wants the best for his wife, Sylvia, and his children, Patrick, Paul and Daphne, and with his steady job at the hardware store, the future stretches out before him. So opens Bonnie Burnard's brilliant, superbly crafted novel about three generations of an ordinary small-town family from the 1950s to the 1990s. As the family members spread out from their community into the larger world, the bonds deepen, widen and sometimes fray. Loyalties are tested by time and chance, people resort to necessary, self-preserving lies, and love creates its own snares.