Shep has been dealt a bad hand in life. Halfheartedly raised by a cold grandmother and chronically ill following his deployment in Desert Storm, he self-medicates with alcohol and daydreams of salvation at the hands of women—ultimately landing on one woman in particular: Lila, the young actress he believes is his daughter despite all evidence to the contrary. As Shep navigates the mystically rendered streets and strip malls of the San Fernando Valley with his only companion, his dog Lionel, he takes increasingly desperate measures to insinuate himself into her life. Kinney’s precise and considered prose examines the insistence on reshaping the past through the lens of one’s own trauma and conceived desires as a means of moving forward. Why do we so often look for solace and redemption through others, pushing ourselves to do anything for them, even when it harms everyone involved?