For our unnamed confessor, the summer months spent on the Caspian Sea during the 1970s are a magically transformative experience. There, he is not the 'poor relative from the North,' but a welcome guest at his wealthy cousin Nilou's home and the gatekeeper of her affections. He revels in the power of orchestrating the attentions of her many competing admirers, granting and denying access to her would-be lovers and divulging intimate details of her life.
In a moment of jealousy and youthful bravado, he betrays and humiliates an unlikely suitor, unwittingly setting into motion a series of events that will have drastic repercussions for all of them as the country is forever transformed by the Islamic Revolution a few short years later. Over the course of twenty years, the lingering effects of that summer propel the friends in their vastly different responses to radicalisation and the choices they make in the face of oppression. Their surprising final reunion reveals the consequences of revenge and self-preservation as they each must decide whether and how to forget the past.