In the pre-dawn hours 24-year old Frank Money, a recently discharged Korea War vet, manages to feign sleep, escape his cuffs and sneak out of an asylum in Oregon or Washington to make his way to the AME Zion church for help. Frank has no money, no memory of why he was put into the asylum – only that he had a few drinks following Lily’s door slam. At this point he’s on his way home to Lotus, Georgia because he got a letter which said, ”She be dead” meaning Cee, Frank’s sister, “will be” dead. By one way or another Frank gets to Georgia and what all he has to find there.
The story is told from several points of view – Frank’s, Cee’s, Lily’s and the narrative is interspersed with letters to someone from Frank – or brief side notes – something.
The time is 1954 and various aspects of that time are woven into the story but it could have taken place after almost any war –