Like Fuentes's masterpiece THE DEATH OF ARTEMIO CRUZ, the action in this new novel begins in the state of Veracruz and moves to Mexico City. Now the principal figure Fuentes's first female protagonist, the extraordinary Laura Diaz. From 1905 to 1978 Fuentes traces Laura Diaz; a life filled with a multitude of witty, heartbreaking scenes and the sounds and colours, tastes and scents of Mexico. Laura grows into a politically committed artist who is also a wife and mother, a lover of great men, and a complicated and alluring heroine whose bravery prevails despite her losing a brother, son, and grandson to the darkest forces of Mexico's turbulent, often corrupt politics. Hers is a life which has helped to affect the course of history, and it is the story of a woman who has loved and understood with unflinching honesty.