Like much of Munro’s work, the story is set in small-town southwest Ontario, and the characters represent a range of social class and values. Fiona and Grant are intellectuals, and Grant is on some level a permanent outsider. While Fiona remembers encountering Aubrey as a young man working at the hardware store, when she visited her grandparents’ farm for the summer, Grant has no such long-term ties to the place he now lives. Aubrey and Marian represent a more precarious middle class. They live in a neighborhood that was nicer when they moved there than it is now, and theirs is one of the well-kept houses that suggest its owners have not been able to afford to move to a better place. Like the neighborhood itself, their younger years were full of promise, with handsome Aubrey building a career in sales, but as they have aged, their fortunes have declined. Aubrey’s job loss and illness have left them without access to further upward mobility. Mr. Farquhar’s house, an old brick house that predated electricity which is torn down after he leaves in favor of a mansion for weekenders from Toronto, illustrates the major shift in the area as farms and farmers are replaced by rich urbanites building second homes that sit vacant most of the time, hollowing out the town.