In the lush literary tradition of such acclaimed Southern writers as Flannery O'Connor and Katherine Anne Porter comes an extraordinary tale of one woman's search to uncover a past full of haunting family secrets.
Thirty-one-year-old Ellie Moon intends to use the summer of 1967 to regroup after her recent divorce. When her estranged father, Tiny, unexpectedly shows up at her Missouri home and asks her to go with him to New Orleans, Ellie seizes the chance to get away-and to maybe understand why her father abandoned his young family twenty years ago.
Father and daughter follow the Mississippi River flyway from St. Louis to the Big Easy, dodging a crazed Kentucky sheriff hell-bent on catching Tiny and running into an eccentric cast of colorful characters. In the midst of late-night poker games, eating contests, and a near-drowning in the Mississippi River, Ellie's proximity to her father triggers blurred recollections of being dirty, of washing her hands again and again but never feeling clean. And when the images snap into focus, Ellie remembers the dark secrets she hid from herself since childhood.