I am falling, I think, I am falling: welcome sweet sleep. Then at the very edge of oblivion something looms up and pulls me back, something whose name can only be dread.
Mrs Curren, a Cape Town classics professor, is an opponent of the apartheid regime who has nonetheless been sheltered from its worst horrors. Now she is dying of cancer. In her final days she must confront the violence, chaos and injustice of her own society. Then Mr Vercueil, a homeless alcoholic, is found sleeping beside her garage. Who is he, and why has he come to her?