Seven years ago, Penny's boyfriend was savagely attacked by a bear, setting off a chain of tragic events. Now, fighting a debilitating illness and haunted by her past, she finds herself incapable of emotional or sexual intimacy. As a way to break down the defenses she has built up in her safe Chicago life, she sets out on a cross-country bike tour. On this trip she meets Ndele, a beautiful, mysterious black man who challenges her to confront her ghosts and decide whether to put her past behind her and live or succumb to the terrible uncertainties that plague even her dreams.
“A long, Americanized gloss on Beckett...Brilliant, funny and sometimes harrowing.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Vibrant, original, and keenly interesting at every level. Penny is Huck Finn after grad school, on her bike instead of the raft, but still traveling in search of liberation. Her coolly intelligent voice, the acute observation of the landscape through which she travels, and her pitiless detailing of the routine struggles of a diabetic are each perfect in their ways. This is a first-rate novel.” —Scott Turow
“Extraordinary work. McManus's precise treatment of physical love and chronic illness are simple and powerful.” —Anchee Minn
“Could not be more American...Penny's narrative--by turns lyrical, pissed off, and longing--is a triumph.” —Publishers Weekly
“A well-crafted tale of grief, introspection, and courage.” —Booklist