A deranged watchmaker meets a troubled student on the Edinburgh to London train, and sends the student to Oxford to meet a woman - the watchmaker's daughter.
A child who does not wish to be born is forced into the world to learn about noise in the markets of Lagos.
A woman returns to Scotland to meet her grandfather.
This plot outline tells you nothing about the complexity of this book. Read it and be astonished.
From the start, when we became acquainted from either side of the bars of my cot, I had admired certain qualities in my friend: his soft skin, his never keeping still, the scarred and always dirty knees. Added to this was his performance in The Snow Queen: just as, durnig the play, Ade's personality, voice and movements had marked the character of the robber girl, so the robber girl - with her painted face and squeaky voice and patchwork dress - had marked my friend.