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Zaman lives with his wife in the marshlands in southern Irak. One day, they discover that she is suffering from a mysterious illness, a result of the war.
The only doctor in the region advises Zaman that he must go to the city to find the medicine needed to cure her.
He crosses the marshlands and travels up the Tigris. His journey leads him to Baghdad where he has to deal with modern civilization. Along the way, he experiences Irak’s history, both past and present. He also discovers and comes to personify the difficulties facing the Iraqi people.
Zaman is happy when he returns home, as is wife, who has been waiting for him. But the few words they exchange will be his wife’s last, for she dies, a smile on her lips. Zaman is left holding a bottle of medicine.