Carl and his 15-year-old cousin stumble into a clearing to find the small tarpaper shack with the smoke coming out of the chimney. It may belong to a trapper. Or it could belong to a woodsy-a man who live in the woods because he can't be with other people. But with night advancing quickly, the boys know they must find shelter from the coming storm-and fast. And that's how they first meet the Foxman, a strange recluse with a face hideously deformed by a wartime injury. While Carl is just as glad to leave the shack after the storm, his cousin feels strangely drawn to the tragic figure of the Foxman. They share emotional ties even Carl doesn't understand, let alone his parents. For the next few months this troubled boy returns to the shack, searching for some bit of knowledge that will explain the tragedy and healing that keep the Foxman alive-and that he can apply to his own painful past.