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Fat and fifty, educated only to be a wife and mother, Ruby Constad has reached a point of crisis. Her husband, Leon, lies in a nursing home after a stroke that has left him paralysed; her grown-up children are gone. In her anguish Ruby appeals for help to a half-remembered figure from her colonial Indian girlhood -Sister Benedicta. Gradually the events leading up to Leon’s stroke are revealed and a woman emerges whose capacity to love, hope and understand are far greater than she realises.

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