In 1967 Toronto, Selena, a university-educated school teacher from Wales emigrates to Canada and marries Aidan, a man who emigrated with his family from Sri Lanka in 1956 when he was sixteen. Salena had not been conscious of their racial differences until they return to Wales to be married and she experiences her mother's critical response to Aidan's colour. She is shocked by the racism of her mother and of the teachers in the school where she begins to teach. It is the time of Pierre Trudeau's promise of multiculturalism which Aidan finds exciting, an excitement that her colleagues and her neighbours clearly don't share. In spite of herself she encourages Aidan to look more English by changing the shape of his beard, wearing tweed jackets which he finds itchy, and smoking a pipe. Aidan's complex family history--their time in Ceylon starting in 1947 and ending when they leave in 1956--is spelled out against the backdrop of Sri Lankan independence and its subsequent political turmoil in which Tamils and Eurasians were denied citizenship. When problems in arise in Selena and Aiden's marriage arise, Selena gradually understands the full tragedy of the civil war in Sri Lanka as it relates to her Sinhalese family, and their struggles for acceptance and identity in a new country and home.