Set against the backdrop of the contested US election of 2000, it tells the story of Nathan and Tom, an uncle and nephew double-act. One in remission from lung cancer, divorced, and estranged from his only daughter, the other hiding away from his once-promising academic career, and, indeed, from life in general. Having accidentally ended up in the same Brooklyn neighbourhood, they discover a community teeming with life and passion. When Lucy, a little girl who refuses to speak, comes into their lives, there is suddenly a bridge from their pasts that offers them the possibility of redemption. Infused with character, mystery and humour, these lives intertwine and become bound together as Auster brilliantly explores the wider terrain of contemporary America - a crucible of broken dreams and of human folly.