As the novel opens, a young woman is returning home in the company of a new love, who departs after they make a date for that evening. As Nadine prepares for her rendezvous, she converses with a series of characters: the contentious Cyril, the critical Dombrowskaya, the morbid and degenerate Anatol, the gentle Bozena. All claim insight into Nadine's past; all seem to have a stake in the young woman's future. Far from being a group of stable, supportive friends, the characters are revealed to be the elements of Nadine's fragmented personality. The experiences and desires of the various personalities are revealed, slowly exposing the core of Nadine's deep uncertainty and self-doubt. As the time of her assignation approaches, Nadine's attempts to quiet the cacophony of voices become more urgent, and the young woman searches desperately for a means of integrating herself and the other voices.