It is sometime after the turn of the century in Lamptown, Ohio, a working-class town filled with factory girls. Every Thursday night at the Casino Dance Hall above Bauer's Chop House and across the street from Elsinore Abbott's Bon Ton Hat Shop and Bill Delaney's Saloon and Billiard Parlor, women and a few men gather to escape their pedestrian lives in fantasy, and sometimes to live out these fantasies. Observing all are the novel's two young protagonists, Morry, who dreams of becoming an architect and developer, and Jen, an unsentimental orphan of fourteen who, abandoned by her mother, dreams of escape.
"Powell understands how small towns work,the ways in which this is good, and the ways in which it is poisonous; the whole book is suffused with yearning for the world beyond." -- Boston Globe