The story is set in the late 1970s and early 1980s, in a small town in Mainland China. A middle-aged couple has three children. The eldest son is obese and mentally challenged, a social outcast and is constantly teased by others. The second child, the daughter, is energetic and independent, and isn’t afraid of doing anything to pursue her dreams or to survive. The youngest child is an introverted, quiet boy who is ashamed of his older brother and tries to break away from his family’s misery.
Breaking into three sections, each focusing on one of the siblings, Peacock allows us to look into the lives of ordinary Chinese people immediately after the Cultural Revolution.