Marilee journeys from Los Angeles to New Mexico to surprise her fiancé, Larry, who has taken a job on the Alamogordo Air Force Base to gain, in one of his antithetical Zen experiments, an understanding of peace. Sympathy for Enoch, a hitchhiking dwarf, disrupts her orderly plans. In a separate voyage, Figman, an insurance claims adjuster on the run, relocates to New Mexico after surviving a lethal car crash that results in an unfair lawsuit against him. Now prone to migraines and the conviction that he is dying, Figman embarks on new adventures. Late in the novel, these two distinct love stories converge on a highway in near collision.