Aziz escapes the atrocities of his native Algeria by hiding in a tanker and swimming ashore in Boston. He finds many Algerians already there, managing as best they can without papers, sleeping on the floor, sending money home. Some are honest and some are not, some wash dishes, others deal in stolen goods. Aziz soon finds that, even in America, he cannot escape the past. This is a riveting look into a closed world, slow to start but building to a dramatic finish.