This is the story of the Whitelaws, a family whose values are as far flung as the territory they helped settle, and whose most recent generations have pioneered the landscape of dysfunction. The patriarch, Sunny Jim, exerts his perverse control even posthumously, by means of a last will and testament that binds the family fortune to a marriage that ought, by general consent, to be rent asunder.
The charms of this particular son-in-law, lately released from prison, are potent if short-lived; Evelyn Whitelaw, his estranged wife, is quite literally bedevilled by them. And as her mother and sister court this twisted inheritance, her own yearnings point toward a way of life once habitual on the western plains but now embodied only by Bill Champion, the family's ranch foreman and Evelyn's one true compass.
The Cadence of Grass is at once an elegy and a masterpiece of savage comedy from one of the most compelling novelists writing today.