This novel provides insight into the intricacies of a changing South Africa at the end of the 1990s. Silas Ali, a former political activist, now a middle-aged civil servant working on the final Truth and Reconciliation Commission report, is shopping in the Killarney Mall in Johannesburg when he bumps into a ghost from his past-Lieutenant François du Boise, a retired security policeman. This chance encounter brings back a memory that Silas and his wife Lydia have been avoiding for 20 years. The past erupts into the present, cracking off the shell of normalcy that encloses their family life. This story of Silas, Lydia, and their son Mikey, a university student with a curious mind and a calculating will, provides an understanding of the politics of race, the brittle surface of urban life in postapartheid South Africa, and the deeper, more disturbing historical currents that run beneath it.