Like his creator, the narrator of this novel is a psychiatrist who loathes psychiatry, a veteran of the despised 1970s colonial
war waged by Portugal against Angola, a survivor of a failed marriage, and a man seeking meaning in an uncaring and venal
society. The reader joins that narrator on a journey, both real and phantasmagorical, from his Algarve vacation back to Lisbon
and the mental-hospital job he hates. In the course of one long day and evening, he carries on an imaginary conversation with
his daughter Joanna, observes with surreal vision the bleak countryside of his nation, recalls the horrors of his involuntary
role in the suppression of Angolan independence, and curses the charlatanism of contemporary psychiatric "advances" that destroy
rather than heal.