Noah, a retired chemistry professor and widower, plans a trip to his birthplace, Nice in the South of France, to investigate wartime photos he discovered his mother left behind. Though before his trip, to his surprise, social services obligate him to become the caretaker of Michael, his eleven-year-old great-nephew he has never met. So in Nice together, first Noah considers himself a person of privilege who can help an unfortunate child, then he finds himself being reminded about his own mortality, age defects, and the perspective-altering eyes of a child. Noah grows backwards to become a father, and Michael finds the family photo mystery fascinating. Akin‘s structure leads the reader through one surprise after another. Emma Donoghue’s quest is to understand the family—even if its mysteries are never solved.