Set in late 1999, it concerns itself with the interjection of Annabelle, the illegitimate daughter to the now deceased Harry Angstrom, into the life of his middle-aged son Nelson, now separated from his wife Pru. Other key characters from the Rabbit series appear: Janice, Harry's widow, who has married Harry's old nemesis Ronnie Harrison; Judy, Harry's granddaughter, now nineteen, who plans to become an air hostess; and his fourteen-year-old grandson Roy, with whom Nelson communicates via email.
Annabelle, a few months after the death of her mother Ruth, appears at Janice's house to introduce herself. While Janice is not particularly receptive to her, and Ronnie is hostile, Nelson enthusiastically welcomes the chance to get to know his sister. They have three lunches and get to know one another. Nelson invites her to Thanksgiving dinner, but it goes badly. Ronnie, who had an affair with Ruth before Harry did, asks Annabelle how it feels to be "the bastard child of a whore and a bum?" This prompts Nelson to move out of the house he has been sharing with his mother and stepfather.
Nelson and Annabelle, along with Pru and Billy Fosnacht, an old friend of Nelson, see the film American Beauty on New Year's Eve, and get stuck in traffic as midnight ushers in the new millennium. During the discussion that follows the film, Nelson pressures Annabelle into revealing that she was sexually abused by her stepfather as a teenager, and that this is why she never married. The novella ends with the hope that Nelson and Pru may reconcile and that Annabelle may marry Billy.
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