'Villages' describes the life, romantic and otherwise, of Wen Mackenzie. Owen's scientific education and a successful business venture take him from the village of his birth, Willow, in Pennsylvania, to Haskells Crossing, in Massachusetts, where he expects to end his days.
In the course of this modest life journey, the communal humanity of villages, chiefly embodied in their female citizens, seeks to humanize him, assuaging and chastening his childhood sense of singularity and foreboding. He knows that below the surface is an abyss of calamity, but he strives to cling to his dreamlike sense of leading a charmed life - an attempt in which he is encouraged by his two wives, Phyllis and Julia, and the other women with whom he can't help but become involved . . .