The central character in Volver is a family of women: mother and grandmother Irene, her daughters Raimunda and Sole, and Raimunda's 14-year-old daughter Paula. Irene is dead: She died with the girls' father in a fire many years ago in their birth village in La Mancha. Raimunda lives in Madrid with Paula and her shiftless husband, who is malevolent, irrelevant, or absent. Separated Sole runs an unlicensed beauty parlor in her apartment. Their old aunt, Paula, still lives in the village and speaks about her sister Irene as if she were still alive. When the aunt dies, some things change, many things return, and Raimunda's troubles become extremely complicated. She bustles through them with passionate determination, a hard-working woman pulled in fifty directions, making a life for her family, reveling in every emotion but self-pity.