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Page numbers refer to the 2010 Penguin books edition. Times are based on the year accompanying each chapter number, supplemented in parentheses with references to dates or times within the text. "NaPe" stands for the narrative perspective employed in that section of the novel.

> Part One

> Chapter 1

  • pg. 3 – 21
  • Time: 1981 (A Friday in March)
  • Plot: Lenore is visiting her sister in college when she is shaken by an encounter with two frat guys.
  • NaPe: Third-person

> Chapter 2

  • pg. 22 – 27
  • Time: 1990
  • Plot: Rick tells Lenore a story about a man with second-order vanity.
  • NaPe: Dialogue (quotes)

> Chapter 3

  • pg. 28 – 52
  • Time: 1990 (Aug. 25, morning)

/a/

  • Plot: Lenore arrives at The Shaker Heights Home to visit her great-grandmother, but is instead met by Mr. Bloemker.
  • NaPe: Third-person

/b/

  • Plot: Lenore’s great-grandmother —whom she is very close to —is missing.
  • NaPe: Second-person speculative

/c/

  • Plot: The title page and first entry of Rick’s “Combination Embryonic Journal and Draft Space for Fieldbinder Collection,” in which he pines for Lenore’s presence.
  • NaPe: First-person (Rick’s writing)

/d/

  • Plot: Mr. Bloemker informs Lenore that a number of residents and staff are missing, and he has been instructed by Stoneciphico to keep the situation confidential.
  • NaPe: Third-person

/e/

  • Plot: Lenore and Mr. Bloemker investigate the missing great-grandmother’s room.
  • NaPe: Third-person

/f/

  • Plot: A journal entry describing Rick’s dream with Queen Victoria and the hairbrush.
  • NaPe: First-person (Rick’s writing)

/g/

  • Plot: Lenore arrives late to her job at a telephone switchboard, where she is told the lines are transferring calls incorrectly.
  • NaPe: Third-person

> Chapter 4

  • pg. 53 – 56
  • Time: 1972 (June 21)
  • Plot: The Governor of Ohio holds a meeting to plan the Great Ohio Desert.
  • NaPe: Transcript

> Chapter 5

  • pg. 57 – 80
  • Time: 1990 (Aug. 25, afternoon)

/a/

  • Plot: Rick recounts how he met and fell in love with Lenore, focusing on their first date.
  • NaPe: First-person (Rick’s writing)

/b/

  • Plot: Lenore tries to telephone her father, but is told he is out of the country and unreachable.
  • NaPe: Dialogue (dashes)

/c/

  • Plot: Rick continues to reflect on his relationships with Lenore and his ex-wife, as well as the childhood development of his son.
  • NaPe: First-person (Rick’s writing)

/d/

  • Plot: Lenore is fussed at by her supervisor for being late to work, until Rick calls from upstairs.
  • NaPe: Third-person

> Chapter 6

  • pg. 81 – 93
  • Time: 1990 (Aug. 25, evening)

/a/

  • Plot: Bombardini orders an obscene amount of food from a flustered waiter.
  • NaPe: Dialogue (quotes)

/b/

  • Plot: Rick and Lenore are eating dinner when they see and approach Bombardini, who explains to them his plan to grow to infinite size.
  • NaPe: Dialogue (quotes)

> Chapter 7

  • pg. 94 – 115
  • Time: 1990 (Aug. 25, evening)

/a/

  • Plot: Lenore returns to her apartment and finds her pet cockatiel much more talkative (or repetitive) than he normally is.
  • NaPe: Third-person

/b/

  • Plot: Lenore talks to her roommate about her missing great-grandmother situation.
  • NaPe: Third-person

/c/

  • Plot: Rick tells Lenore a story about a man with temper problems and a melancholy woman who overeats and oversleeps.
  • NaPe: Dialogue (quotes)

/d/

  • Plot: Rick is woken by Lenore talking in her sleep.
  • NaPe: Dialogue (quotes)

/e/

  • Plot: Rick is woken by Lenore’s sudden realization that one of the missing residents’ walker was in her apartment, inexplicably, and decides she is being messed with.
  • NaPe: Dialogue (quotes)

> Chapter 8

  • pg. 116 – 145
  • Time: 1990 (Th. Aug. 26)

/a/

  • Plot: Lenore with her therapist about her state of mind after the previous day, and the beliefs and teachings of Lenore’s great-grandmother.
  • NaPe: Transcript

/b/

  • Plot: Scraps of a short story by Rick in his journal.
  • NaPe: Third-person (Rick’s writing)

/c/

  • Plot: Lenore is at work, where she learns that the phone problem still isn’t fixed, and that a child gymnast from Russia is coming to her city.
  • NaPe: Third-person

/d/

  • Plot: Rick continues to write about the same character in his journal.
  • NaPe: Third-person (Rick’s writing)

/e/

  • Plot: Lenore’s older brother John arrives at an emergency room while having some sort of seizure in a taxi cab.
  • NaPe: Dialogue (quotes)

/f/

  • Plot: Rick recounts a dream about checking in to a hotel in Mexico run by a mouse.
  • NaPe: First-person (Rick’s writing)

/g/

  • Plot: Lenore’s mother, in a sanitarium, has a disoriented conversation with someone.
  • NaPe: Dialogue (quotes)

/h/

  • Plot: Rick argues with his therapist about his dream, Lenore, and hygiene.
  • NaPe: Transcript

/i/

  • Plot: Lenore encounters Mr. Bloemker and a blow-up doll in the bar Gilligan’s Isle.
  • NaPe: Third-person

> Chapter 9

  • pg. 146 – 158
  • Time: 1990

/a/

  • Plot: Lenore arrives at her father’s office, and he begins talking about members of their family, including Lenore’s missing great-grandmother and Lenore’s younger brother.
  • NaPe: Monologue (quotes) (implied to be one side of a discussion)

/b/

  • Plot: A new piece from Advertising Age magazine (headline: "INFANT-FOOD MARKET HEATS UP THANKS TO UNPRECEDENTED PROMOTIONAL AGGRESSIVENESS, ENTREPRENEURIAL CAJONES") includes reference to new research being done by Stoneciphico, Lenore’s father’s company.
  • NaPe: Article

/c/

  • Plot: Lenore’s father reminisces about her great-grandmother’s eponymous broom lesson, and begins explaining the connections between the missing Shaker Heights Home residents and Stoneciphico’s research.
  • NaPe: Monologue (quotes) (implied to be one side of a discussion)

/d/

  • Plot: The wedding ceremony for Lenore’s parents is marred by the best man’s embarrassingly intoxicated state, in a scene from May 26, 1961.
  • NaPe: Transcript

/e/

  • Plot: Lenore’s visit with her father continues. He informs her that her older brother is also missing, suggests she visit her sister, and asks a favor: that she travel to her younger brother’s college and ask if he has been contacted by any of the missing family members.
  • NaPe: Monologue (quotes) (implied to be one side of a discussion)

/f/

  • Plot: Four different “Ideas for Monroe Fieldbinder Story Collection” that each relate to Rick’s life or anxieties, in various ways.
  • NaPe: Third-person (Rick’s writing)

> Chapter 10

  • pg. 159 – 174
  • Time: 1990

/a/

  • Plot: Lenore drives to one of her sister’s family’s homes, and their attention is attracted by an interview on TV with the child Russian gymnast.
  • NaPe: Third-person

/b/

  • Plot: Another of Rick’s journal entries, including ideas for Monroe Fieldbinder, thoughts about a picture of his son, and the documentation of a “truly horrible” dream.
  • NaPe: Third- and First-person (Rick’s writing)

/c/

  • Plot: The Russian gymnast performs a routine to conclude the interview, and then Lenore watches her sister’s family begin to perform a therapeutic theater piece in front of a recorded audience on TV.
  • NaPe: Third-person

/d/

  • Plot: On behalf of Stoneciphico, Rick’s publishing firm is offered the lucrative chance to publicize the company’s new research, on the condition he doesn’t mention anything to Lenore.
  • NaPe: First-person (Rick’s writing) and letter

/e/

  • Plot: The therapeutic family theater presentation continues.
  • NaPe: Third-person

/f/

  • Plot: Rick recounts what he knows about the adultery troubles of Lenore’s sister’s family.
  • NaPe: First-person (Rick’s writing)

/g/

  • Plot: The therapeutic family theater presentation concludes.
  • NaPe: Third-person

/h/

  • Plot: Lenore’s landlady enters her room and hears the pet cockatiel talking, interpreting it as a miracle of God.
  • NaPe: Dialogue (quotes)

> Chapter 11

  • pg. 175 – 254
  • Time: 1990

/a/

  • Plot: A man angers his wife when he explains that he feels smothered by her and needs to get away for a while.
  • NaPe: Dialogue (quotes)

/b/

  • Plot: A plane prepares for take-off.
  • NaPe: Third-person

/c/

  • Plot: On the plane, an anxious Rick tells Lenore a story about a man who can’t find love because of his excessively amorous and forward feelings and actions toward every woman he sees.
  • NaPe: Dialogue (quotes)

/d/

  • Plot: Lenore’s older brother is in a medical center, seemingly convinced he is a contestant on a game show.
  • NaPe: Duty log

/e/

  • Plot: Rick abruptly leaves Lenore, seemingly either overcome with emotions and memories or desperately needing to urinate, after they are driven to campus and let out at the door of Lenore’s younger brother’s dorm.
  • NaPe: Dialogue (quotes)

/f/

  • Plot: Writing in his journal while in a motel room during the evening, Rick relates both his emotions from returning to his alma mater for the first time in two decades, as well as a traumatically embarrassing experience with a girl in 1968 while he was a college student.
  • NaPe: First-person (Rick’s writing)

/g/

  • Plot: Lenore has arrived in her younger brother’s dorm, and finds him trading academic help for illegal substances while getting high and drunk with his friends and watching TV.
  • NaPe: Third-person

/h/

  • Plot: In his continued journal entry, Rick revisits a bar he used to frequent, and has a chance encounter with Lang, one of the frat boys from Lenore’s college visit in 1981. Rick and Lang bond over an uncanny number of connections and coincidences.
  • NaPe: First-person (Rick’s writing)

/i/

  • Plot: Lenore and her younger brother walk to a hill in the campus quad, where they have a long talk about family relationships, their great-grandmother and her linguistical beliefs, and the recent events involving missing people and Stoneciphico’s research. Rick and Lang join them at the top of the hill as the sun sets and a shadow covers the group.
  • NaPe: Third-person

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