We are in Spain as we follow the life and thoughts of Mara, a Romanian beggar who sits, day after day, on the pavement outside a bank in Madrid. Little by little her past takes shape, her tragic past, as she reflects on the members of her family, as she describes the village of her childhood, the hardships of Ceausescu's Romania, her relationships - one of which was her downfall. She takes the reader through her happy but troubled youth, her dysfunctional family, her loves and follies, an unwanted pregnancy, the sordid kidnapping of her baby by the Romanian authorities and the fruitless search for the infant in the Bucharest orphanages. We experience her flight from Romania, abuse as a refugee and illegal immigrant throws her life into a sad downward spiral. After years of begging and loneliness fate offers her a chance and rescues her through a ‘flu epidemic, landing comatose in the caring environment of a small Madrid hospital. After all this, can she find the strength to escape from the depths into which she has fallen? Mara's is a tale of sadness, of a woeful start to life and an ambiguous ending.