After leaving the Russian homeland, Jess Klassen’s Mennonite forebearers carved out an existence in the Saskatchewan prairie, separate from wider society. Jess is sixteen and aware that, despite her father’s intellectual leanings, she is in an impossible position–being the homosexual daughter of the president of the Mennonite college. She hits the road in search of a language and the freedom to speak it. On the train to Winnipeg, she is found by Freya, the Icelandic princess of her dreams.
Halfsteinn, a reliable fisherman and expert in the fine art of hand-rolling cigarettes, enters Jess’ life, helping her escape emotional captivity. Jess runs further and faster, embracing pot-head, video game-playing housemates in the world away from her Mennonite being. After visiting the bed of every available (or reasonably available) woman in her small university town, she meets Shea. Jess can barely utter the name–afraid of the word, the woman, the possibility, and her own past. Moving forward, Jess makes her move back.