A muted, moving story of the dispossessed, of Lies and Aart, Hollanders, who escape to North Africa where Aart, a dreamer, hopes to find renascence in the land, and in the refugee children they take in, German, French and Polish. Forlorn, filthy, the children are the first to realize the hopelessness as they face barren soil and contempt. Lube goes off to live with another Dutchman, Pierre loses a leg, Maria is sent away for a time, Rainer sells manure, and Hans compromises his values by giving German lessons to the Arabs to provide food for the children. Finally when Aart is jailed, Lies accepts his failure and miscarrying, dies- just as the children are deported- all save who falls in the dragnet of the Gestapo. A subdued, saddening story of the youth of Europe, fed on hatred, driven by fear, old beyond their years.