In 1939, the families in a remote Jewish village in Romania feel the war close in on them. Their tribe has moved and escaped for thousands of years, but now, there is nowhere else to go. At the suggestion of an eleven-year-old girl and a mysterious stranger who has washed up on the riverbank, the villagers decide to reinvent the world: deny any relationship with the known and start over from scratch. And for years, there is boundless hope. But the real world continues to unfold alongside the imagined one, and soon our narrator - the girl, grown into a young mother - must flee her village to find her husband and save her children, and propel them toward a real and hopeful future.