Phillip is excited when the Germans invade the small island of Curaçao. War has always been a game to him, and he's eager to glimpse it firsthand—until the freighter he and his mother are traveling on to the United States is torpedoed.
When Phillip comes to, he is on a small raft in the middle of the sea. Besides Stew Cat, his only companion is an old West Indian, Timothy. Phillip remembers his mother's warning about black people: "They are different, and they live differently."
By the time the castaways arrive on a small island, Phillip's head injury has made him blind and dependent on Timothy. This is the story of their struggle to survive, and of Phillip's efforts to adjust to his blindness and to understand the dignified, wise, and loving old man who is his companion.
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