Gabe is Gabrielle, a woman who is pursuing a masters in literature. She is recalling events of her past, particularly in 1973/74 when her brother Robert, just released from prison for manslaughter, and his wife Valley come to live with her in her father's cabin. Gabe is divorced, having married Dennis, and grown bored with him. Robert is a Viet Nam veteran, a violent person with a substantial charm. There is much local color here, of the personal and environmental sorts. Gabe describes her hunting outings with a poetic grace. There is a cast of family friends who form a backdrop for the events in question. Diamond shifts back and forth between the mid-80;s when she is studying and the 70's when the real action happens. There are forays to other periods. We learn that her mother abandoned the family and that her father is emotionally very cut off. She unravels thin layers at a time until we get to the core of the tale. There is much here about Hemingway, how she feels about his work, the women in his novels.