This is Louis' introspective memoir that spans 50 years. He first focuses on when he met his future wife, Susan, in 1969. She is a successful feminist artist in Chicago that specializes in figurative art. A year later she and Louis drive to Boulder, Colorado after camping in Rocky Mountain National Park. Susan rests while Louis takes a self-guided tour of the Columbine Collegium which is a music school founded by unemployed musicians after the depression. While crossing the campus Louis meets Sylvie who is playing her flute on a bridge. Sylvie is the 16-year-old daughter of two of the music faculty. Louis and Sylvie hit it off and Sylvie insists that they trade addresses so they can write to each other. Louis fails to tell Susan of the meeting. Susan is much surprised when a letter arrives when they get back to Chicago that has Sylvie's return address. After going to see a movie that features a 50-foot woman bent on vengeance, Susan embarks on a project that she calls The Goddess. Her dream is to paint a 50-foot painting of her version of the tiny paleolithic Venus of Willendorf figurine found in 1908. This is not an easy project and she spends the rest of the year on scaffolding fulfilling her dream. Meanwhile Louis and Sylvie become pen pals. Her letters fill the void left by Susan. Louis and Sylvie agree to meet in Michigan where Sylvie's family goes to a music camp on vacation. When Louis arrives at the meeting place there is no Sylvie. Upon the return to Chicago Louis learns the reason.
Susan completes her Goddess and has a spectacular unveiling party complete with Susan's feminist speech and its interpretation by modern dancers.
December with Louis' birthday arrives and he gets a present from Sylvie. Unfortunately, he is hung over in bed after a big birthday party in Chicago's Greek Town. Susan gets the mail. Imagine her surprise because she didn't know the two were writing. The next couple of years bring the couple together again.
2010 brings Louis back to Boulder in search of Sylvie. He has thought of her over the years and has tried to find her and now the search is a family effort. Sylvie is eventually found and the question asked by Shakespeare is finally answered. "Who is Sylvia?"