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Abraham Isaac, teacher of Latin, philosopher and father, has, after many years, a young pupil. Teaching pulls him back into his memories: of Rose, his first love; Mercy, his stubborn sister; and most of all of Rani, his beloved wife. Of days of youth and promise, when he threw himself into the politics of Singapore in the 50s and 60s. Days when temperance and restraint gave way to action and desire. Days when the culture and society of Singapore were defined and moulded. Days when he believed he had a valuable role to play as a proud citizen of a new country. But now he is old, and the burden of his years weighs on him heavily. Distanced from a present devoid of idealism and obsessed with power and money, Abraham is estranged from his strong, successful son. Descending into the past, Abraham is led from the promise of youth, through cynicism born of experience, to an understanding and reconciliation of his life and times hard-won in maturity.