In Second World War Poland, a prisoner closes his eyes and pictures a sunlit cricket ground. Across the yard of a Victorian poorhouse, a man is too ashamed to acknowledge the son he gave away. In a 19th-century French village, an old servant understands the meaning of the Bible story her master is reading. In the Catskills, 1971, a girl steps out of a Chevy with a song that will send shivers through her listeners' skulls. A few years from now, in Italy, a scientist discovers links between time and the human brain, and her lover's novel and his life. Throughout five masterpieces of fiction, exquisitely drawn and unforgettable characters risk their bodies, hearts and minds in pursuit of the manna of human connection.