When Signora A first enters the narrator’s home, his wife, Nora, is experiencing a difficult pregnancy. First as their maid and nanny, then their confidante, this older woman begins to help her employers negotiate married life, quickly becoming the glue in their small household. She is the steady, maternal influence for both husband and wife, and their son, Emanuele, whom she protects from his parents’ expectations and disappointments. But the family’s delicate fabric comes undone when Signora A is diagnosed with cancer.
A platoon of young men and one female soldier leaves Italy for one of the most dangerous places on earth: Forward Operating Base (FOB) in the Gulistan district of Afghanistan. Each member in the platoon manages the toxic mix of boredom and fear that is life at the FOB in his own way. But when a much-debated mission goes devastatingly awry, the soldiers find their lives changed in an instant.