Dispossessed of her vast property on the island of Rab by the Communist authorities of Yugoslavia, 100-year-old Madonna lies on her death bed&mdash,finicky, frail, and foul-smelling. Her nurse, Mali, thinks it a miracle that she lives at all. Although their relationship is never made exactly clear, Mali performs his duties with patience and care, as he reflects on their lives, the island, and the country. Set in the borderland between Italy and Croatia, this lyrical novel explores themes of the individual, family, duty, love, memory, religion, and state and conveys emotionally vivid portraits about the passing of a generation and a way of life. This new translation incorporates the author's significant revisions to the text since its original publication.