On the first page of this book we find a man facing a firing squad. We are in the Congo, in 1964. That man, kidnapped by the rebels along with fifteen hundred other Westerners, is the young Belgian consul in Stanleyville. His name is Patrick Nothomb and he is the future father of the writer. Starting from this extreme situation, Amélie Nothomb reconstructs her father's life before that moment. She gives him a voice. It is Patrick himself who narrates his adventures in the first person. And so we will know about her father, a soldier who died due to the explosion of a mine when he was very young; of his mother detached from him, who sent him to live with his grandparents; of the poet and tyrant grandfather, who lived outside the world; of the aristocratic family, decadent and ruined, who had a castle; of hunger and hardship during World War II. We will also know about his readings of Rimbaud; of the love letters that he wrote for a friend; of the two true writers of the letters, who ended up falling in love and getting married; of his apprehension of blood, which could cause him to faint if he saw a drop; of his diplomatic career... Until he got back to those terrible moments at the beginning, in which he looked away to avoid seeing the blood spilled from other hostages but had to look death in the eye.