An artist is commissioned to weave the portraits of a random selection of townsfolk in Lost River. For this task he must interview each one - fifty-two in all, one for every week of a year - to discern the gestures by which he might portray them. His work becomes an odyssey through humankind, its social, political, sexual, humourous and spiritual aspects. The chosen few are enlightened, insane, larrikins, fools, psychopaths, mindless materialists . . . people who have caught a glimpse of something strange, perhaps the borders of a world behind the everyday.
The weaver's subjects are haunted by the death of one of their number, while he in turn is haunted by thoughts of Yarrow, the woman whose absence underscores his existence.
A prodigiously profound and witty vision of humanity by one of the great masters of Australian writing.