Under the influence of the hippie spirit that spilled over from the late 1960s, Norm Sender decided to open the doors to his Sonoma County ranch to any idealistic vagrant interested in being part of his community. The group of open-minded free-lovers and drug-abusers soon come to be known as “Drop City,” but beneath the nonchalant veneer characterizing the group lurk the same selfish impulses against which the group set out to define themselves. As run-ins with the law and interpersonal strife threaten to break up the group, Norm proposes that Drop City relocate to rural Alaska as a way to cement its earthy aspirations. Despite good intentions, Alaska’s harsh conditions and unsympathetic locals threaten the communal goodwill the group was attempting to recapture.
Ravaged by the closing events of World War II, Japan in this novel is an ancient society struggling to cope with the brutal implications of defeat in modern warfare. Aldred Leith, military hero and son of a famous novelist, has come to Eastern Asia to observe firsthand the subject matter of a book he intends to write. There he meets Helen, the teenaged daughter of a local Australian commander, and becomes captivated by her ability to live vicariously through literature. Despite their differences in age, the two gradually are drawn to one another. Both must heal from the recent global horrors before regaining the capacity to love.