The unnamed male narrator poses an enigma to the residents of the Brazilian seaside town of Garopaba. He arrives seeking to unravel the mystery surrounding his grandfather's 'death' decades earlier. The pace of life in Garopaba reflects the gentle pace of the book. Yet as the summer season ends and the slow winter months close in, the narrator comes to life and takes action to avenge the past. This is when I admired him the most.
The fishermen don't talk much to him. Everyone he tried to talk to about his grandfather's death now ignores him. Some watch him with hostile looks as he walks through the village centre, while others greet him with an exaggerated friendliness. At times he worries that he's being paranoid. He isn't really sure who is who and has stopped asking questions because he is starting to feel scared.