"She opens the back gate and finds they have dragged their mattresses out into the garden for the heat and are sleeping under the dimming stars, heedless of dew, with sheets drawn over their heads against the mosquitoes. She chooses her son, fits herself to the hard beads of his spine, hears from under the fig tree the tireless scraping of a cricket."
Athena and Dexter lead an enclosed family life, innocent of fashion and bound by duty towards a disturbed child. Their comfortable rut is disrupted by the arrival of Elizabeth, a tough nut from Dexter's past. With her three charming, chaotic hangers-on, she draws the couple out into a world whose casual egotism they had barely dreamed of. How can they get home again?