In the shadow of the Boeing plant where the first commercial jet liner was assembled, a family lives in a house in a rural landscape filled with stumps, streams chocked with the dead salmon and no one who can help. The sixties in Renton, Washington, were a mix of jet age technology and subsistence farming. Roger Carnation is an electrical engineer, or double e, is a stepfather who regards his new family as an acquisition. He has daughters to train to do what he needs. He has a wife to clean house and prepare food. He has a son to train as a replacement man. The novel is told through the five points of view as the story advances toward its inevitable end.