Roseanne McNulty, once one of the most beautiful and beguiling girls in County Sligo, Ireland, is now an elderly patient at Roscommon Regional Mental Hospital. As her 100th year draws near, she decides to record the events of her life, hiding the manuscript beneath the floorboards. Dr. Grene, Roseanne's caretaker, takes a special interest in her case. In his research, he discovers a document written by a local priest that tells a very different story of Roseanne's life than what she recalls.
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Nearing her 100th birthday, Roseanne McNulty faces an uncertain future, as the Roscommon Regional Mental Hospital where's she spent most of her adult life prepares for closure. Over the weeks leading up to this upheaval, she talks with her psychiatrist, Dr. Greene, and their relationship intensifies and complicates. Told through their respective journals, the story that emerges is at once shocking and deeply beautiful.
Jack McNulty is a 'temporary gentleman', an Irishman whose commission in the British army in the Second World War was never made permanent. In 1957, in his lodgings in Accra, he sets out to write his story. He is an ordinary man, both petty and heroic, but he has seen extraordinary things. He has wandered the world - as a soldier, an engineer, a UN observer - following his childhood ambition to better himself.