Malcolm -- Julia's sixth-born -- remembers too clearly the June day in 1993 that he and his wife visited an older sister and her family at their lakeside cottage in New Hampshire. Little about Fran -- Malcolm's forty-four-year-old sister -- resembled their mother. She had their father's pale blue eyes and an aptitude for gadgets that no one else in the family possessed. She was considered the family technician, since she could do everything from rewire a house to repair an IBM hard drive. With an IQ over 150, she was sharper than a tack, which is why Malcolm felt a fear rip through him when, for the second time that day, Fran picked up the blue- green embroidered bracelet off the hall table and wondered aloud where it had come from, and her daughter had to tell her yet again that she'd made it for Fran. Later, Fran would ask a third time. Whose bracelet was this? Since their mother's death, it was as though the disease had been secluded in a crevice between generations. But now it had crawled back into their family's midst, Malcolm realized, never having left.