In the late 1970s, as Spain was adrift between the death of Franco and the rebirth of democracy, people were moving from the poor south to the cities of the north in search of a better life. But the work, when there was any, was poorly paid and the housing squalid. Out of this world of limited opportunities a generation of delinquents arose whose prospects were stifled and whose rebellion would be brief and violent.
A Colombian writer is witness to a murder that will mark him forever. A woman sits alone in her house, waiting for her husband to return, while he lies in another woman's bed 20 kilometers away. Through blood-soaked betrayal, a love affair, murder, and long-meditated revenge, Vasquez achieves an extraordinary unity of emotion, morality, and landscape with these fragmented lives.