When her mother dies, forty-two-year-old Ursula Gant is left shattered. Cocooning herself in grief, Ursula retreats behind a literal wall of beloved books. But not even the fictional barricade can safeguard her from a spell of hallucinations. When the wall collapses, Ursula bolts to the airport, abandoning her lover Daniel. Meanwhile, Daniel's wife Cissy, a fading beauty queen, is tormented by a different sort of loss. Devastated by her husband's betrayal, Cissy boards a plane to Athens - the same plane Ursula is on. The plane crashes. In the aftermath, one of Daniel's two fleeing women disappears, her body is never recovered. The other, horribly burned, regains consciousness. But without any memory, and with an unrecogisable face, she ventures into the world alone, unloved and unknowable.