For our unnamed confessor, the summer months spent on the Caspian Sea during the 1970s are a magically transformative experience. There, he is not the “poor relative from the North,” but a welcome guest at his wealthy cousin Nilou’s home and the gatekeeper of her affections. He revels in the power of orchestrating the attentions of her many admirers, granting and denying access to her would-be lovers. But in a moment of jealousy and youthful bravado, he betrays and humiliates an unlikely suitor, setting into motion a series of events that will have drastic repercussions for all of them as the country is forever transformed by the Iranian Revolution a few short years later.
Over the next twenty years, the lingering effects of that betrayal set the friends on radically different paths in the wake of political, religious, and cultural upheaval. Their surprising final reunion reveals the consequences of revenge and self-preservation as they each must decide whether and how to forget the past.