Perth, 1954. Thirteen-year-old Frank, a refugee from wartime Hungary, is learning to walk again after contracting polio. At The Golden Age Children's Convalescent Home, he meets Elsa, and the two patients form a forbidden, passionate bond. The Golden Age becomes the little world that reflects the larger one, where everything occurs: love, desire, music, death and poetry.
Edith and Frances, living with their mother on a tiny farm in the south-east of Australia, are visited by their cousin Leopold and his Armenian friend Aram. The two young men are taking the long way home after working on an archaeological dig in Iraq. It is 1937. The modern world, they say, is waiting to erupt. Among the tales they tell is the story of Gilgamesh, the legendary king of Uruk, in ancient Mesopotamia.
Maya de Jong is an 18-year-old country girl who moves to Melbourne and begins an affair with her new boss. When Maya's parents, Toni and Jacob, arrive for a visit, Maya is gone - no one knows where. Maya, for reasons of her own, leaves haunting clues in late-night calls to her brother at home, carefully avoiding detection by the two people who love her most. Ultimately, to find her daughter, Toni will have to revisit a part of her past that she thought she had shut off forever - the closest she ever came to being a lost girl herself.