Robert, a famed mathematician and academic at the University of Chicago, is one of the most brilliant men in his field of his generation. Unfortunately, he is also afflicted with a debilitating disease which has descended him into madness, and from which he has only occasionally ascended into periods of lucidity and productivity. He is now also dead, having succumbed to a heart attack , but he is still having conversations with his younger daughter, Catherine.Catherine has been Robert's caretaker for the last five years of his life. She is already manifesting signs of clinical depression, leading her to worry, and not entirely without cause, that she may have inherited her father's gene of madness (she's having conversations with her dead father). On the other hand, there are strong indications that her own brilliance and intellect may far exceed those of even her noted father.During the week of Robert's funeral, two people intrude upon the life of Catherine at this vulnerable time. There's Hal, Robert's protégé, who searches Robert's 103 notebooks in his study in a hunt for work of enduring significance. He also takes the opportunity to initiate a romance with Catherine. And there's Claire, Catherine's estranged older sister, flying in from the East Coast and attempting to manage and control Catherine's future.Catherine is a young woman with much to offer the world. How will the lingering presence of these three other individuals affect her ability to fully realize her gifts?