After twelve years in exile, living and teaching in the safety of Montreal, Alma Alvarez has been persuaded to return to Luscano by her old friend Flaco, who has invited her to give a lecture at his university on the tragic Uruguayan poet Delmira Agustini, a writer with a cult-like following known for her erotic poetry and film noir demise.
Having been arrested herself after the publication of a poem which offended the military regime, Alma knows how influential and dangerous poetry can be. But her mother is dying, and her return to Luscano feels inevitable. She soon discovers that life in Luscano is still rife with secrecy and duplicity. And Flaco turns out to have a hidden agenda as well. As Alma attempts to readapt to a country that, despite its seductive charms, may not have broke free of its brutal past, she catches sight of the man whose actions prompted her exile and begins to follow him in secret.
The imaginary country of Luscano, an amalgam of Uruguay, Argentina and Chile, is vibrantly brought to life with a nod to the region’s literary tradition of magic realism.