This is the absolute worst Pulitzer winner I've ever read. Were there no other books written in 1983? The author is constantly switching around in time and place in his story. Just when you think someone's dead, they show back up again in the narrative. This makes for a very confusing read. I suppose it's written like we remember things from our lives: out of order such that the past and the present, the dead and the living all intertwine. Frankly, I wasn't impressed. The main character, Francis, leaves his wife and family and becomes a bum after he accidentally drops the baby on its head and kills it. 20 years later, he's a nearly toothless drunk drifting from mission to abandoned building to stripped car every night looking for a place to lay his head. And he carries all the ghosts of the past with him in his memories. He refuses to come home even now because he still feels the need to do penance for dropping the 13-day-old baby on the head (among other deaths he has caused along the way involving cracked skulls). And that's seriously all there is to the story. A brilliant work it's not.