Ruth, a woman who has passed beyond youth, is planning to drive to the funeral of Olga, her one-time mother-in-law and, after the divorce, simply a close friend for many years. Ruth is uneasy, however, about her impending meeting with her daughter's father, Olga's son. She feels weighed down by old guilt. Something about her eyes is bothering her, as well, and the world before her blurs like an Impressionist painting. She takes a wrong turn on her way to the cemetery and instead finds herself in a park, in which the dead and the living alike appear to her and the past and the present melt into one. A dog trots beside her as she meets the Honeckers, a married couple lost in the park and looking for shelter. She runs across Brian, a boyfriend of days long gone. And again and again, Olga appears by her side.
By that evening, the world will seem as straight-forward and solid to Ruth as it always has – but for this one day, she is open to the impossible, the irrational, all that shines light into the dark and turns the accepted into the absurd.
Monika Maron's epic new novel tells the story of circumstances we are born into and cannot escape, of decisions we make in our youth that, though we are glad in later life that we made them, terrify us in their brutality.