Through elderly writer, Steponas, we meet two women. Both have led incredibly dreadful lives - one because of her religious beliefs, the other because of an abusive husband compounded by extreme poverty. Their experiences give Steponas the inspiration to write about his own terrible secret, one that he has kept hidden in the chambers of his heart for many years. You need to stay awake and on track with this novel. It begins slowly but persevere and don't have any illusion that the story will 'lighten' as it progresses. It doesn't. The setting of Lithuania and the ghettos of Poland make for a sad read but you may enjoy this if you have a passing interest in the history of the war and its effect on those who lived through it.