This collection of stories is divided into two parts: the first is called Edgewater, the second Father Land.
The eight stories comprising the first section of the manuscript--Edgewater--all center on and are narrated by the same young protagonist--Matthew--and share a recurring cast of characters. In this coming-of-age cycle, the reader follows Matthew as he grows up in a Southern California cul-de-sac neighborhood called Edgewater. Throughout the early stories, as Matthew struggles to forge an identity for himself, he must negotiate his place in a household governed by two very different parents: a newly, fervently religious mother, and a taciturn, volatile father. In the later stories, Matthew’s movement towards young adulthood is further complicated when his father dies suddenly, and his mother brings another man into the house.
The four stories included in the second section--Father Land--are not directly related to the first eight stories. Told from multiple perspectives, these stories are linked to one another thematically in that they all focus on men struggling to deal with their roles as husbands and fathers. Though the characters are different from one story to the next, the stories are arranged in such a way that the reader experiences a linear movement through various domestic stages: in the first story, we meet a young married couple uncertain of whether they want to have children; in the second story, an older couple unable to conceive the child they desire; in the third, a husband, wife and young daughter; in the fourth, a widowed husband and his teenage daughter.