From the acclaimed author of Silence Once Begun comes a beguiling new novel about a man starting over at the most basic level, and the strange woman who insinuates herself into his life and memory.A man and a woman have moved into a small house in a small village. The woman is an ‘examiner’, the man, her ‘claimant’. The examiner is both doctor and guide, charged with teaching the claimant a series of simple functions: this is a chair, this is a fork, this is how you meet people. She makes notes in her journal about his progress. He is showing improvement, but his dreams are troubling. One day, the examiner brings him to a party, and here he meets Hilda, a charismatic but volatile woman whose surprising assertions throw everything the claimant has learned into question. What is this village? Why is he here? And who is Hilda?