Shortlisted for the EBRD Literature Prize for best work of literary fiction translated into English. On the outskirts of a town thirty miles from Istanbul, a master well-digger and his young apprentice are hired to find water on a barren plain. As they struggle in the summer heat, excavating metre by metre, the two will develop a father/son bond that neither has known before.
But in the nearby town, where they spend their evenings, the boy will find an irresistible diversion. The Red-Haired Woman, an alluring member of a travelling theatre group, catches his eye, and she seems as fascinated by him as he is by her. But in his distraction a horrible accident occurs, and he will spend his life unaware of the outcome, or who the Red-Haired Woman was, until many years later.