The Condition explores one turbulent year in the lives of the McKotches, a New England family in extremis. Paulette and Frank McKotch, long divorced, hide a mountain of old grievances from their three adult children who are busy with crises of their own. Billy, the eldest, is a successful Manhattan cardiologist living a double life. Scott the youngest, has made an endless series of wrong turns. And Gwen, the daughter, lives a hermitic life far away from her parents. The family attributes her reclusive temperament to her Turner's syndrome, a chromosomal disorder that has left her with the stature and physical maturity of an eleven year old child. From the day it was diagnosed, Gwen's condition has caused an explosive disagreement between her parents. Frank is fascinated by the clinical manifestations of Turner's–a scientific interest that horrifies Paulette, who sees Gwen's condition as nothing short of calamity.
As Christmas 1997 approaches, Frank, a prominent medical researcher, is on the brink of a big discovery when an old rival reappears. Billy's secret life implodes, and Scott becomes obsessed with roads not taken. And Gwen, in her thirties, falls in love for the first time, a development the whole family views with alarm.
The Condition looks at the power of science and its profound limitations, the determining reality of biology and the power of individual will. Mostly, though, it is a story about parents and children and siblings: the people we love but didn't chose–and in many cases, wouldn't have; the complex and bewildering web of loyalties and resentments that take a lifetime to form.