We warm to these newcomers—as to all Russo's characters—almost despite ourselves. A jaded Hollywood moviemaker uncovers a decades-old flame he never knew he'd harbored. A precocious fifth grader puzzles over life, love and baseball as he watches his parents' marriage dissolve. Another child is forced into a harrowing cross-country escape whose actual purpose he learns only after the fact. An elderly couple rediscovers the power, and the misery, of their relationship during a long-awaited retreat to a resort island. And in the title story, a septuagenarian nun invades the narrator's college writing workshop with an incredible saga.