The book is a pseudo-autobiography.
In the mid-1920s, Dodge Carter leaves Florida after graduating from university and moves to Mount Vernon, New York to be closer to his grandmother. He loves the beauty and atmosphere of living in the countryside, away from the city. However, during this time, he meets (and falls in love with) a beautiful woman from New York City. After a night in the city goes bad, he's forced to leave his grandmother and his new home behind and move to the city. From here, the drama continues.
The book has a poetic style of writing, and in many regards, has the feel of a romance novel. In addition to the romance, however, the book also approaches themes of self and universal discovery and relationship with a kind philosophical thought. Overall, I'd classify the book as a drama: a balance of romance, violence, self-reflection, family dynamics, etc. There's beauty to it, however, accompanied by a kind of seriousness.