When the factory decides to relocate its production to Morocco she has the choice of redundancy, which in her case would result in quite a good severance payment, or relocating to Morocco. Eager to continue working she choses the latter, against the strong advice of the company’s personnel officer.
She visits her son, unannounced, to tell him her plans, but the meeting doesn’t go well, they having not spoken since he left for Paris. And, unbeknown to her, he now has a male partner. In the event Edith leaves without telling him her plans, and when he subsequently calls her, she says not to call again as she’s cancelling her phone contract.
When she arrives in Tangiers it becomes immediately apparent that life there is very different. She is to lodge at a guest house that’s experiencing reduced business because of the impact of the major construction work at the nearby port. Initially her relationship with Mina, the proprietress, isn’t too cordial. But when she arrives for her first day at work the true extent of her circumstances becomes apparent, as she’s put to work on a sewing machine in what’s no more than a sweat shop.
Further misfortune follows when she’s robbed, but this actually provides a catalyst for her relationship with Mina to improve, helped greatly by Mina’s charming son Ali. In fact life becomes much more tolerable until, that is, she upsets Najat, the shop floor supervisor, and pays a heavy price for so doing.
This leads to a serious decline in her circumstances, resulting in hospitalisation and a surprise visit from her son, who insists she returns to France. But this puts her back to where she was when she decided to take off (prendre le large) in the first place. This desperate situation requires a complete re-evaluation of her life and results in her taking a truly life-changing decision.