The novel is a historical double biography of Post-ImpressionistpainterPaul Gauguin and his grandmother Flora Tristan, one of the founders of feminism. The book is divided into 22 chapters, each alternating narratives of Flora Tristan and Paul Gauguin, the grandson she never knew as he was born after she died. Flora Tristan, illegitimate daughter of a wealthy Peruvian man and a French woman, is repelled by sex, detests her husband, and abandons him to then later fight for women's and workers' rights. The story of Paul Gauguin unfolds along a similar quest for an ideal life. Gauguin abandons his wife and children, and job as a stock-broker in Paris, to pursue his passion for painting. In the process he does his best to distances himself from European civilization, fleeing to Tahiti and French Polynesia for inspiration. The contrasts and similarities between two lives attempting to break free from conventional society present a long, elegant development.
Written in Spanish the English translation was by Natasha Wimmer and was published by Faber and Faber in 2004. The French translation by Albert Bensoussan is called Le Paradis, un peu plus loin. It has also been translated into German by Elke Wehr as Das Paradies ist anderswo. In Spanish, the book's title literally means:"The Paradise in the Other Corner".