An Ethiopian immigrant who now lives in the US after fleeing his country for political reasons, Sepha Stephanos finds his life taking a turn. He happens to run a local grocery store. While he does everything to retain his native identity, he is constantly conflicted between his diasporic and immigrant identity.
He instantly finds solace with Naomi, a bi-racial 11 year old. She has recently moved to his neighborhood. Her mother, Judith, is the first white woman to have moved to this neighborhood, and attracts a lot of attention as she is out of place.
All of these events invoke a sense of nostalgia from within the protagonist, and he finds himself rooted in time. He is lost in a foreign land, and as he struggles to define himself in America, and attempts to find his place within the country. He finds his ideals starkly different from the American ideals, and has a tough time appropriating their culture.