Tom goes to New York City to see Savannah. He always hated New York, before he even saw it. When Savannah was fifteen she received a subscription to the New Yorker, which she loved. Luke and Tom never understood it. Tom remembers how Savannah moved to the city right after high school; she worked as a waitress and lived in a cheap apartment. When she published her first book, Tom and Luke went to the city to attend the parties in her honor. She dedicated her first book to Tom, her twin.
Luke and Tom attended a reading given by Savannah during that visit. She instructed them to appear androgynous and benign, which was difficult for them. Savannah’s friends were mostly feminists and almost all had been severally hurt by men.
The next day, Savannah wanted to show her brothers what she loved about the city. The siblings spent the day seeing the best loved tourist sights of New York City. However, the day only confirmed Tom’s disgust for the city. Tom, Luke and Savannah witnessed a man attack an old woman and steal her jewelry. Tom and Luke manage to catch the mugger and secure him until the police arrive.
Luke helped every street person he encountered. Savannah tried to tell him that these people were perfectly happy, but Luke could not believe her. One day he found a teenaged boy, dead, on a bench. He had needles in his arm. He was from North Carolina. This greatly upset Luke.
One night Savannah talked to her brothers about their past, and asked how they were not as hurt as she. Tom and Luke told her that they chose not to think about it. She told them she was seeing a psychiatrist and that she saw and heard things that were not there. After they had all gone to bed, Tom heard Savannah talking in her room. When he went to check on her, she was terrified and yelling at things he could not see. She told him that she saw terrible things and that the voices told her to kill herself. Luke overheard the conversation between Savannah and Tom. He told Tom that he thinks Savannah needed to move back home--hard work would clear her head. Tom got angry with Luke and told him she had a real disease. Luke told Tom he heard Savannah ask about that day on the island. Luke said they swore to never speak of it again and that Tom should tell her it did not happen. Tom said he remembered every detail of their sordid childhood.
This chapter is a flashback to Tom’s first visit with his sister. In this chapter the mystery of their childhood deepens. The reader knows that the siblings’ parents are responsible for whatever happened to them, and that their father beat them. Also, we learn that something happened at Tom’s house that they swore to never speak of again.
The characters of Tom, Luke and Savannah are developed in this section. Savannah is obviously the most sensitive of the group. She is deeply hurt by the events of their childhood and manifests her pain through delusions. She is a poet and revels in the anonymity of New York City.
Luke is the most simplistic of the three. He served in Vietnam and appears to have moved on from the pain of their childhood; although, Tom believes that Luke has not dealt with the pain. Luke believes in hard work and loves his brother and sister dearly.
Tom believes that he is the normal sibling. He is a balance between Savannah and Luke.