Jonathan Lewis-Adey was nine when his parents separated, and his mother, Sid, vanished entirely from his life. It is not until he is a grown man that Jonathan finally reconnects with his beloved lost parent, only to find, to his shock and dismay, that the woman he knew as "Sid" in Toronto has become an elegant man named Sydney living in his native Trinidad. For nine years, Jonathan has paid regular visits to Sydney on his island retreat, trying with quiet desperation to rediscover the parent he adored inside this familiar stranger, and to overcome his lingering confusion and anger at the choices Sydney has made. At the novel's opening, Jonathan is summoned urgently to Trinidad where Sydney, now aged and dying, seems at last to offer him the gift he longs for: a winding story that moves forward sideways as it reveals the truths of Sydney's life. But when and where the story will end is up to Jonathan, and it is he who must decide what to do with Sydney's haunting legacy of love, loss, and acceptance.