A Prelude, Chapter 1, In Mendia Res, Arizona, and Chapter 2, 1927-37: Stump Creek, West Virginia
• Henry Lightcap's wife Elaine leaves him, and Henry shoots the refrigerator.
• Henry plans to go to Stump Creek to see his brother Will.
• Henry recollects his childhood, when his mother gave birth to his brother.
• Will follows orders, but Henry is a strong-minded, dogged child.
Chapter 3, Henry Begins His Retreat through Chapter 6, Will's War
• Henry packs his truck, and takes his dying dog, although at first he planned to leave her.
• Henry finds that he has been fired and Elaine has cleaned out his account, but he is leaving town, so he stops at the saloon for one last drink.
• Recalling the summer of his fifteenth year, Henry tells a story of a baseball game that ended in a tie.
• On his trip to West Virginia, Henry stops to eat often, and...
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