Duncan's whole world is the orphanage where he lives. Aged ten, he is sure that his mother is dead until the day she turns up to claim him. Maggie Bright, a soprano who was once the talent of her generation, now sings in a run-down bar through a haze of whisky and regret. She often finishes up in the arms of Joshua McGreevey, a Vietnam vet who earns his living as part of a tunneling crew seventy feet beneath the Bay. Thrown into this adult world of mysterious suffering, Duncan finds comfort in an ancient radio – from which tumble the voices of Apollo mission astronauts who never came home – and dreams of one day finding his father.