The characters in this novel are isolated either by circumstance or by choice and yet they are all connected. June is abandoned with Luke, her infant son at Mabel's seaside motel and it is her arrival that is the ripple effect for the story. Mabel, a widower, is grieving for her husband, and takes on helping June and her son. From here we meet Iris, a reclusive woman who is living out her days of humiliation at the hands of her husband; Iris' daughter Claire, a fiercely independent photographer; Sam, a disfigured war vet; Oldman, a wise older gentleman; Duncan, a trusted guardian.
Wallace's novel is a slow burn when revealing how these individual stories are related to one another. Each character is drawn out over the course of the narrative through June and Luke, who is an extension of June. They help not only bring Iris out of her shell, but are a link to what is good in the world. Told from multiple points of view, this beautiful novel would be an excellent choice for a book club.