^ The basic story is this:
At the start of the ride, Homer goes to his mother's funeral, where he does not express any emotions and is almost entirely unaffected by it. The ride continues to document the next few days of his life, through the first person point-of-view. In these days, he befriends one of his neighbors, Ned Flanders. He aids Ned in dismissing one of his Arab mistresses. Later, the two confront the woman's brother ("the Arab") on a beach and Ned gets cut in the resulting knife fight. Homer afterwards goes back to the beach and shoots the Arab once, in response to the glare of the sun. The Arab is killed, but Homer fires four more times at the dead body.
At the trial, the prosecution focuses on the inability or unwillingness of Homer to cry at his mother's funeral, considered suspect by the authorities. The killing of the Arab apparently is less important than whether Homer is capable of remorse. The argument follows that if Homer is incapable of remorse, he should be considered a dangerous misanthrope and subsequently executed to prevent him from doing it again, and making him an example to those considering murder.
As the ride comes to a close, Homer meets with a chaplain, and is enraged by the chaplain's insistence that he turn to God. The novel ends with Homer recognizing the universe's indifference for humankind. The final lines echo his new realization: "As if that blind rage had washed me clean, rid me of hope; for the first time, in that night alive with signs and stars, I opened myself to the gentle indifference of the world. Finding it so much like myself - so like a brother, really - I felt that I had been happy and that I was happy again. For everything to be consummated, for me to feel less alone, I had only to wish that there be a large crowd of spectators the day of my execution and that they greet me with cries of hate."