The diary of a traveler. The young widower, Alan Christoffersen, decides to deal with his grief by planning a walk across America from Seattle to Key West.
Alan wonders what the people he passes think of him and reflects that the people we encounter in our lives are like books in a library. We might not have time to read all of them, but he recommends browsing: “For every now and then, we find that one book that reaches us deep inside and introduces us to ourselves. And, in someone else’s story, we come to understand our own.” This is an apt analogy for the collection of people and their stories that Alan encounters along his journey. Midway through his cross-country walk, Alan collapses and wakes up in a hospital learning he has a brain tumor. His father has come out from Pasadena and takes him back home for the necessary surgery and recovery. At the hospital are two women who have prior connections to Alan, and both love him deeply. It is revealed that his young wife, who may have foreseen her own death, wanted him to remarry should she die before him, and his father, himself widowed early in life, discusses this with his son. Upon his recovery, Alan flies back to St. Louis to resume his walk East. More challenges and lessons await him.
The stories collected on this journey, as in life, are left unfinished, raise many questions and, depending on what the reader brings, might provide some answers.