Pattie Monk is a shy and indifferent sixteen-year-old, languishing in a dying town in the California Central Valley, when her brother, Steve, is killed in a drunken accident. Emotionally abandoned by her shattered parents, Pattie is left alone to struggle with her grief and her very place in the family. In the drought-scarred '80s, the local ecomy leans heavily on the Restola, a truck stop supercomplex on the other side of the Interstate. Into Pattie's life, by way of the Restola, comes Duane Baty, a burned-out, bankrupt trucker for whom she feels an unsettling attraction/repulsion. The sense of surrealism that invades her life overflows and colors the entire town, the Restola and the surrounding landscape in this vivid story of dreaminess and decay. Pattie's struggle to find something resembling herself is a classic story of the human need for identity and the desire to answer the question: what happened here?