This comic novel set in the world of New York City real estate in the late 1970s and early 1980s chronicles the coming of age of Clara Chimes, who want to be a scientist. But her overbearing aunt wants her in the family business. Brilliant though not particularly good at standing up for herself, Clara flounders through her family's upper class Republican milieu only to loose her way. Clara becomes lost in the world of the housing court, crazed and somewhat corrupt judges, and tenant organizing, and she also struggles with her aunt's cancer. Minor characters abound, and some are hilarious, especially Clara's Republican voting, health-food-eating eccentric friends from the Main Line. After a tour of Clara's somewhat wacky acquaintance, the reader sees her settle for something not her first choice, but still very good.