Among the file-cards for the living and the dead, one - of an apparently ordinary woman - will transform his life.
By day Senhor Josť labours in the labyrinthine stacks of the city's central registry. By night he ferrets for facts about the famous, compiling his own archive of births, deaths and marriages. One day he chances upon an index card of an ordinary woman whose details hold as much fascination for him as any celebrity's. Striking forth from the regimentation of his daily life, Josť starts to track the woman down, obsessively following a thread of clues in a bid to rescue her from an oblivion deeper than the grave.