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From The CriticsAfter graduating from college in Madison, Wisconsin, Bea Maxwell takes a job in Chicago at an advertising agency. One day, at the age of 27, she receives a phone call from her mother, who is nearly crippled with rheumatoid arthritis. Despite her father's objections, Bea decides to return to her hometown of Green Bay to help care for her ailing parent. Spanning a period of fifty years, this terse, elegant novel subtly reflects the changes that have come over the once small town while simultaneously following the course of Bea's life: "a life spent talking about other people and thinking about love." Though romantic love eludes her, Bea comes to discover that there are rewards to living one's whole life in a single place. On the surface, Simpson's fourth novel seems strangely disjointed. The time frame is erratic and new characters are disconcertingly introduced. However, a connecting undercurrent eventually brings this unusual, almost elegiac novel full circle.