On a lazy Sunday afternoon, after a lunch of succulent pork and chilled beer, Andrea settles down with her uncle and aunt to retell family stories of Akkai, a Roman Catholic nun (and Andrea's great aunt), who died under mysterious circumstances.
This gets Andrea thinking about the lives of the other nuns in the family - like bold and brassy, salsa-dancing great aunt Deidre, who left the convent to be the principal of a college; others soft and steely like Akkai, and the don-like Stella Marie, a nursing superintendent.
Andrea realizes these women have played a large part in the architecture of her childhood in the Mangalorean Catholic community of Bangalore.
As she talks to family members about the nun-aunts, Andrea unearths some peculiar and quirky aspects. Through whispered stories in the family, she comes to appreciate the porous convent walls the nun-aunts and the family navigate.
But she also encounters unexpected reticence from some of the family, whose memories of the nun-aunts are somewhat differently textured.
This richly human memoir tells the story of how a young girl finds her way through a flood-tide of recollections and emotion to navigate the tricky shoals of family ties, in an effort to bring closure to the family past.