This passage is the very opening of the book. The photo shows an apricot tree laden with fruit.
Leonora always said it was a shame that the house she’d inherited wasn’t anywhere near as good as the land it was on. They had a large patch of mountainside to call their own, but the stone house on its exposed ridge with its clumsy brick repairs, its leaking windows, its year-long smudges of mould and its smoky hearth were inconvenient to say the least. And then there was that outside staircase, wide open to the elements.
“Look on the bright side,” Ernesto her husband said once. “You can pick apricots from the top step.”
All very well for him to see it that way, seeing as he was disabled and it was never his job to venture up the stairs, slipping on the treacherous ice on a winter's night and being blown inside-out by the wind. Being able to reach apricots in summer was hardly a priority anyway when one year in two there weren't any, and the other year there was a glut they could scarcely cope with. The ancient trees would have swallowed the house if they hadn't been pruned savagely back so as not to obscure the view.