Four-year-old ‘Wolfi’ Herminio is happily growing up in Berlin with his six-year-old brother Roni, his German mother Klara and his Spanish journalist father Pascasio. But on the day that Hitler invades Poland, a panicked Pascasio rushes home, burns all his papers, and then flees Germany, leaving his family behind and severing all contacts with them. This bewildering abandonment thoroughly derails the lives of the little boys, just as they are faced with the advent of WWII and all its terrors and privation.
As a young man, Herminio sets out to solve the mystery of this defining event. Why Pascasio left? What happened to him? A lifelong journey to find the answers becomes a struggle of hope, suspicion, disappointment, and shocking discoveries that will take him to Franco’s Spain, Castro’s Cuba, and the remote Canary Islands. In a story that reads like an engaging thriller, Herminio’s search will also lead him into adventures such as working for a spy agency, becoming an unwitting accessory to a plot to blow up the Statue of Liberty, and a ping-pong game with Fidel Castro himself.
Juxtaposed against some of the most pivotal events of the twentieth century, this fascinating and deeply personal story examines the effects of buried secrets and old wounds, and how they resonate down through generations. While Herminio starts out damaged by his father’s disappearance, his quest reveals that this moment is central to the man he has become.