It's weird science fiction: humans interact with aliens. In the aliens' language, statements must refer to real things. If you wanted to compose a poem about a purple cow in this language, you would first need to dye a cow purple. Our protagonist acts in a simile as a young girl, but most of the story talks about her life as a grown-up in this strange place. The aliens want to talk about new things without needing to real-ize these things. But hardliners don't like this change: there's something honest about a language so grounded in reality. So what is the place of imagination, of fiction in this world? (And is it interesting that a science fiction author is telling us this story? Not the narrator. I mean the book's author, China Mievelle. Interesting? Or just playing with our heads? Anyhow.) Language, philosophy, art, and derring-do. It's slow at the beginning, but worth it.