In her ten previous nonfiction books, Meredith Maran has trained her journalistic eye on the subtle dance between the political and the personal. Now Maran brings her provocative gaze to her debut novel – a family story spanning two decades, set against the social, political, and geological upheavals of the Bay Area. Eager to escape her damaging past and chart her own future, Alison Rose is drawn to Zoe, a free-spirited artist who offers emotional stability and a love outside the norm. After many happy years together, the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake deepens fissures in the two women’s relationship, and Alison leaves Zoe for a new, “normal” life with a man. Alison’s son is the outcome of both of these complicated relationships, and the three parents strive to create a life together that will test the boundaries of love and family in changing times.