Oswald T. Campbell, aged fifty-two, down-and-out in a Chicago winter, is given only months to live unless he moves South... He finds himself in the small town of Lost River, Alabama, where the residents are friendly if feud-prone and eccentric to a fault. One of them, Roy, keeps a red cardinal, a once wounded bird called Jack. Patsy, a sad, sweet little kid with a crippled leg, from the trailer park up in the woods, takes to dropping by the store - and falls in love with Jack.
Flagg takes us on an emotional roller-coaster ride through the lives and hearts of an engaging crew of misfits, fixers and ordinary good-hearted folk, set against the vivid natural backdrop of a mellow Alabama winter.