BETTER DAYS takes place in 1974, the day of Roma Avery's funeral. Neal and Taw have moved to Roma's house to care for her in her final illness. Porter has come home on leave from the Navy. Neal and Taw's son, Cody, now a captain in the Marines, serving in Vietnam, has also returned on leave for his grandmother's burial. In the course of a day, all the characters make plans for themselves—and for others—as they are visited by Wayne's father, once sweet on Roma, and by Roma's old lover, Fontaine, a man Neal had heard about and never met and about whom he had only just told Cody. Grief gives way to humorous surprise and renewed bonds as Cody finds himself in the middle of a bottle spin to see who gets Roma's house—a place so full of memory some want to stay forever, some want to leave it behind as soon as the bottle stops spinning. With Vietnam calling Cody, Neal and Taw must contend with a new future, more hopeful that they can give their son, if he returns, better days ahead.
The third in the poetic trilogy, New Music, which chronicles the Avery family and their friends through thirty-seven years in a North Carolina town. Elegant melancholy follows these people as they live through the depression, WWII and Vietnam, and a few private wars of their own. "…the trilogy has a sense of dramatic momentum, culminating in a poignant moment of honesty…" —NY Times.