The day turns freezing and dark, a heinous crime occurs and abandonment ensues. It is the last day of school for a twelve-year-old girl named Christine in 1994 in Toronto, Canada.
Twenty-one years later, she finally realizes that her silence about the meaning of her name, which her mother gave to her on her death bed, threatens her survival. She has formed a compromise through her new name, Lena, to survive the events of her childhood.
Accompanied by her husband, she takes the trip of her life to a paradisaical landscape, Jamaica, where she meets a woman who knows about compromising. Christine discovers that both a woman's compromise and her retraction of that compromise can be not only courageous but also dazzlingly infelicitous.
That infelicity is found in the name of a seventy-four-year-old Jamaican woman who now calls herself Dell-Dell.
Book back cover
After having been renamed by her dying mother at twelve years old, Christine accepts her new name―Lena. But that name holds a painful, terrible secret. Her acceptance of it comes with guilt and the reminder of her shame and violation. Christine has remained silent about the events that precipitated her renaming and the real meaning of "Lean-a." Now thirty-three years old, she is compelled to confront her past because her marriage is threatened by her husband's and her mutual silence.
But Christine's silence is as deep as the meaning of her name. The women around her have also been silent, so she travels to Jamaica to address the cause of her own silence. By the end of her journey to Jamaica, Christine embodies the question that the narrative contemplates in the end: what might a woman's compromise be if she should face the perpetrator of the crimes against her that Christine herself has experienced?