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Dangling a silver spoon over her daughter-in-law's belly, Desdemona confidently predicts that her next grandchild will be a boy. But a rogue pair of chromosomes, descended from the slopes of Mount Olympus, will survive war, bootleggers and heartbreak to finally unite in Calliope Stephanides - a baby girl who upsets all the odds. Growing up in Michigan, Calliope is the bearer of a family secret that turns her into Cal, the narrator of this intersex, inter-generational epic.