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Stingo, a young writer, moves to Brooklyn in 1947 to begin work on his first novel. As he becomes friendly with Sophie and her lover Nathan, he learns that she is a Holocaust survivor. Flashbacks reveal her harrowing story, from pre-war prosperity to Auschwitz. In the present, Sophie and Nathan's relationship increasingly unravels as Stingo grows closer to Sophie and Nathan's fragile mental state becomes ever more apparent.