John Macmillan is an Englishman in California studying Sufism, and in particular Rumi, the thirteenth-century Islamic mystic and at present the best-selling poet in America. Traveling to Damascus, he hears rumors of a secret, heretical manuscript that might have escaped from Iran during the chaos of its Revolution, and, taking a message back to California, ends up encountering Camilla Jensen, an open if somewhat wayward Californian, who seems in some way connected to the world of fugitive texts. Following the trail of mystical poems through Spain and India to Iran, and trying to unravel the mystery that lies behind Camilla, John finds himself descending ever deeper into a world of passion and bewilderment. Then, suddenly, a manuscript appears, and Camilla disappears, leaving him closer to an understanding of some things, yet further from a real understanding of what is most important to him. Abandonis a mystical romance in the classic Persian tradition brought into the bleached sunlight of Southern California today. But it is also an unexpected and distinctive look at the clash between Islam and the West, at a time when Los Angeles is partly run by Iranian exiles and the long-closed cities of Iran are slowly opening up to Westerners. Eerie and incandescent, Abandon displays Iyer's unique gift for showing the dance of dreams and desires and preconceptions that ensues when cultures collide.