n an excerpted interview published in The News & Observer in 1994, Betts talked about her book and explained that it was an exploration of how God can allow the innocent to suffer.

“I always am interested in whether or not you can deal with what I think of as the big questions at the level of ordinary working people. It seems to me that that’s essential in fiction in America,” she said. “If you really want to ask the questions that Job asked, why shouldn’t you ask them of a highway patrolman, a beautician, a shoe salesman at Belk’s …?”