In the pre-Katrina boom days of 2005, executive consultant Jim Wright was dispatched to a community college in El Pequeno, a middling town located in the backwaters of California's Central Valley. His mission: to parlay a perfunctory "technology assessment" stint into a lucrative long-term management contract for his firm. To Jim, experienced, wily, charismatic, the assignment seemed a piece of cake. He couldn't have been more wrong.
Three years later, the boom over, his career and life in shambles, Jim sits at home in Greensboro, North Carolina, awaiting with mixed feelings the imminent visit of two former Pequeno colleagues: Mina Hussein, with whom he has remained on friendly email terms, and Grace Kirchner, once Jim's fervent admirer, pet and object of forbidden desire, who mysteriously cut off contact after resigning from the college.
While the two young women drive from California to North Carolina, and Jim follows their progress on Google Maps, all three are forced to revisit their memories of the fateful year they worked together, puzzling out professional challenges, political intrigues and personal entanglements, in the process exploring the conflicts between corporate logic and ethical imperatives, and coming to grips with the meaning of love.