Inga Ābele takes us on a backwards journey through the life of Ieva, a Latvian woman in her midlife. In more or less chronologically reversed order, the novel tells the story of a woman whose youthful decisions dramatically affected the rest of her life.
Gradually, we meet the important people in Ieva's life - her grandmother, her mother and father, her brother Pāvils, and her daughter Monta – and things begin to take shape.
The uncovering of Ieva's personality and the relationship between the three main characters make up a large part of the novel's appeal. The full extent of Ieva's personal situation only becomes clear at the end.
Ābele explores questions of how past decisions can affect our outlook on life forever and why we cling to a past that has changed us so much.
Inga Ābele plays with metaphoric images of ebb and flow, and her novel follows a structure in which real plot alternates, tide-like, with imaginary passages that resemble inner monologues.