The protagonist/narrator runs away to sea at age fourteen to escape the influences of his mysterious neighbor, Mrs. Coble. Twenty-four years and one montage later he lands in California and begins the walk home to his Maine village, not knowing if his parents still live. Early on he meets “the woman” and impregnates her. Fearing confinement in the child’s love, he resumes his trek and becomes trapped in the subsequent odyssey. The possibility of the woman waiting for him relentlessly tugs at his heart while....
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