Zan de Melker is a beautiful but eccentric woman. She is Zan of the unpredictable seizures and Xusan of the mysterious glass room. She's the Susan whose inappropriate sexual behaviour scandalises the community she lives in. And she is Xan the political activist, and sometimes Xusan Dimelaki, star of the Amsterdam stage. Zan's nephew Henk de Melker is a museum assistant in a small Eastern Cape town. Self-effacing and introverted, he is a meticulous researcher who writes slim monographs of unremarkable historical figures. Out of the blue, he receives a letter from an Amsterdam lawyer informing him that his long-lost Aunt Zan has died and has left him her house in the city. He must come to Amsterdam to claim his inheritance. But Henk is unprepared for what awaits him in Amsterdam. Not only does he have to decide whether to move there permanently, or give up his aunt's legacy, but he finds himself being drawn into the maelstrom of life in the Dutch city with its canal belt, pickpockets, prostitutes and street musicians. More than this, he finds that he himself is changing in a way that forces him to confront his past - those secrets of his childhood that were 'never talked out'. The thirty nights he spends in Amsterdam will change him for ever.