It's turn-of-the-century New York, a city bursting with new life as the old century's order makes way for the mercantile class. But in the Pinkerton household a nineteenth-century embarrassment remains. Alice Pinkerton. Alice isn't mad exactly, but she's not sane either. She is tolerated, free to wander about, free to accompany her family to tea parties - free to be treated like a simpleton. But in truth Alice's mind is razor sharp, honed by a restless imagination, years of reading and a profound contempt for her surroundings. Left alone to read, to think, she has devoured the world that brings her mind alive: Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde, Michelangelo, Whitman, Poe, they are her inspiration; Jane Eyre, Catherine Moreland, Desdemona her companions. As she moves through the witless world around her, observing its prejudices, its shallow culture and its vanity, it is society that prompts her observations, viewing all through the prism of the art that has sustained and nourished her lonely life.