• Housekeeping is the story of two sisters coming of age in an isolated mountain town.
• The narrator, Ruth, and her younger sister, Lucille, rely on each other to survive.
• Ruth's grandfather comes to the mountains from the west. He gets a job working on the railroad, marries, and builds a house in Fingerbone.
• The railroad and the lake eventually lead to his death in a catastrophic derailment where an entire train and all its passengers go off the high railway bridge into the lake.
• Ruth's grandmother continues to live as a widow with her three daughters, Molly, Helen, and Sylvie, in the house her husband built.
• Seven-and-a-half years after Helen leaves Fingerbone, a friend lends Helen her car to take the girls to visit their grandmother.
• Helen arrives on a Sunday morning and sits the girls down in the screened porch at their grandmother's house, telling...
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