As a teenaged girl, Lara Canedo was torn from her roots when, at her mother’s insistence, she left her native Havana for Spain as one of thousands of Cuban refugees of the late 1960s. Lara now finds herself, a mature adult, returning home – but to a dilapidated capital that no longer resembles the city she left behind, and to a homeland that has been with her only subconsciously during twenty years in exile.
As she revisits sites from her childhood and youth – accompanied by Osvaldo, an old boyfriend hoping to rekindle their romantic past – she encounters people and places that arouse suppressed memories. Even as she journeys through present and past, through subconscious and conscious, Lara crosses Cuba to visit her godmother, Clemencia, who has kept Lara’s childhood journals for all these years. Reading through them allows Lara to clearly see the differences between then and now, reawakening her once-strong identity and granting her a sense of perspective she had never possessed before.
Forced at last to confront the past after long denial, Lara is able to see the land of her birth anew, with eyes free of the unbridled and delusionary nostalgia she shares with so many exiles. She realizes that to remember means to actively acknowledge and use her memory to meld the split pieces of her life and so create a healing unity from them.