Through the long hours of one sleepless night, twenty-year-old Julia sorts through the story of her life so far. Set against the backdrop of Franco's forty-year dictatorship, her personal history reveals its own small tyrannies, intrigues, and struggles for independence, laced with the sweetness and sadness of first loves, losses, and hopeless entanglements. Sleep may elude Julia, but the dreams and nightmares of a brief yet crowded lifetime of memories accompany her through the night, in particular memories of her beloved grandfather Don Julio, who fought on the losing side in the Spanish Civil War. It is his revolutionary fervour that inspires Julia, helping her to cope with a self-centred mother, an overbearing grandmother, would-be boyfriends, even the discomfiting ghost of her own younger self. This autobiographical novel marks the first appearance of the daring style and consummate skill that distinguishes Ana Maria Moix's work and quickly established her as one of the most innovative and entertaining writers in contemporary Spain. Though touching on themes as dark as death and political repression, Julia's story is, in the delicately balanced authority and lightness of Moix's language, ultimately one of hope.