The story takes place in the 1950s in the suburbs of Stockholm, in the university town of Lund, and in the United States. Neta's childhood is in disarray. She reads - words give form to the vagueness of existence - and is busy thinking about the female sex, family, and the stupendous diversity of people in the world. Her father, a mathematician, and her mother, a musician, are in constant conflict, but she loves them both. Gradually Neta realizes that she's grown up in a lie and that she must step carefully through the war zone of her parents' marriage.