As the book starts to move towards its end it becomes clear that it is all about love – the powder of it, the consequences of the absence of it and the yearning for it – and Cathy becomes part of the story again because she signifies what happens when you are completely absent of love.
This is also a book written with a great deal of love, of the past and of family, and it comes across on every page and because of that you trust things will be okay even when Cathy is at her most deranged and desperate.
Bullet points between pages 503 – 578
* Having moved to Salinas the boys start school and it comes time for Lee to leave and open his bookstore in San Francisco but he returns suffering from loneliness and spends a lot of time and a fair amount of money doing up the house
* In the meantime Adam has become fixated on freezing vegetables and against the advice of business guru Will Hamilton buys the local refrigeration company and sends some cabbages to New York but because of transport problems the plan is a failure
* The boys feel that their father has failed, lost lots of money and become a laughing stock in the town and Aron, who is seriously involved with Abra his girlfriend plans to move away while Cal starts to hunt for his mother
* He discovers his mother is known as Kate and running a brothel and starts to follow her and lets Lee know that he has discovered the truth and then one night he is caught by the police at a gambling den and his father gets to sit down with him alone
* Adam shows Cal love and the boy reacts to it and blurts out about his mother and Adam asks him to never tell his brother about it and shortly afterwards Cal meets Kate and confronts her accusing her of being afraid
* Kate has become afraid – afraid that people might do to her what she has done to others – and she retreats into a grey world of complete mistrust and is rocked by the meeting with Cal who comes away strong and determined to help Aron through college and his father to revive his fortunes