. . . but nothing ever comes of it, nor of the intimations that Mother's Pretensions are a fraud, nor of Father's oversized image and unexplained death, nor even of young Charles' pursuit by one after another panting female. It's 1936 in Hancock, Mass., where Charles' gripe that NOTHING EVER HAPPENS (so why stay?) is contradicted, in the course of his fourteenth summer, by a gaggle of odd ducks and demi-scandals (the mouldering corpse, the fancied rape, the rumored abortion) worthy of Winesburg, Ohio. These are juiced-up reminiscences, one suspects, true to life only in the descriptions of a town boy's discomfiture at the posh Academy, a lawn-slave's joy at the purchase of a first power mower. And, especially, the comfort of visiting old tippler George and his unfooled, unflustered mother Across-the-Street (as Charles' mother disparagingly puts it), where he can consume the American Weekly along with raw franks and cold pie. It's they who, after George's freakish stroke, give Charles the homely tasks and other recognitions of manhood that, more than anything else, serve to bind him to Hancock. That is, if you take the plan to run away as anything more than a warmed-over pipedream.