A lyrical tale of a family pushed to the edge: In separate stories that eventually converge, a young Canada goose is wounded by a young boy, Will, who is trying to cope with the disintegration of his family. After Will's father loses his job as a longshoreman in Baltimore, the family loses its home as well, and moves in with Will's grandfather on his farm in Pennsylvania. Work is still scarce, money even scarcer; Will's parents fight constantly, and his father's anger and bitterness makes home a place to avoid. Then Grampa has a heart attack, and Will's father disappears. But this is less a tale of unmitigated woe than a beautifully told, uplifting story about the power and strength of family. In her first novel, Cummings adds a ruthlessly realistic look at a family under pressure to a structure and theme reminiscent of R. Wright Campbell's Where Pigeons Go to Die (1978). The story of the goose, which Will ultimately nurses back to health, resonates emotionally with his grandfather's illness and death, and with the rending and healing of his family. The prose shows the ease and confidence of an old pro, and gives off the power of someone who understands well the human heart.