Shortly after the first referendum on Quebec separation, four people in their forties encounter each other in Ile d’Or, the town where all of them grew up. The novel is about gold and greed and renewal and hope. About people who emerge from a frontier existence into the society of the late 20th century with the need to discover how their contemporary lives connect with their pasts: how growing up in a mining town in northern Quebec in the 1930s through 1950s shaped who they are today. They do this with the hope that confronting the past may better equip them for moving on with their stalled lives. Their pasts include alcoholism, scandal, suicide, ethnic and linguistic tensions as well as violence and divorce. As children they all experienced a substantial amount of shame largely because of adult behaviour beyond their control. They need to be reconciled with themselves through a reconciliation with the community in which they grew up shamed. One component of their shame relates to the languages they and their parents spoke, or did not speak, and how those languages were related to power and class. This particular shame and how they deal with the language issues now as adults runs as a leitmotif throughout the manuscript.