'Edited' by Patrick White, these memoirs are a stage upon which the Nobel Prize winner himself appears, a supporting actor and anxious director of his many-faceted, spell-binding leading lady, Alex Xenophon Demirjian Gray.
Enter Alex: quick-change artist of many personae - re-enacting all that she has experienced in her various lives. We see her as Cassiani, the nun with unexpectedly blue eyes, sweeper of mouse droppings, lover of Onouphrios the monk, who is rejected by the 'Christians' of Nisos as an evil-eyed sorceress; as Sister Benedict, who on the Feast of the Kippers leads the frailest member of her order into the bush, there to learn the source of goodness; as Dolly Formosa, star-turn of 'Alex Gray's Theatrical Tour of Outback Australia', dispensing culture to a reluctant audience.
These are just a sampling of a host of guises. We also see Alex in her suburban Sydney home, exasperating her daughter Hilda, who cannot imagine the great flights her mother's temperament requires and which the state of her mind allows.