Prologue: Silent Pictures
* The novel opens with an unnamed narrator listing the members of the Piper family and how each died, including the two babies, and Mumma who died with her head in the oven. The narrator also describes New Waterford, where the family lived, and the family house.
Book 1: The Garden; Chapters 1-5
* James repairs his mother's piano after his father leaves. As a result, he becomes a piano tuner. While out on a job, he meets twelve-year-old Materia Mahmoud. The two soon elope even though Materia has been promised to a much older dentist. Her family does not approve, and she never sees them again.
* Materia wants to move to New York, but James refuses to leave Sydney. He wants Materia to become a better housewife, but she refuses and becomes increasingly ill and emotional. Soon, a neighbor, Mrs. Luvovitz, takes Materia in and teaches her...
This section contains 2,450 words
(approx. 9 pages at 300 words per page)