“Whatever falls from heaven, you may keep.” So goes the unwritten law of the Kazakh steppes. A law avidly adhered to by the inhabitants of a small village, who collect the space debris that falls downrange from the nearby Baikonur space station. The last two youthful members of the village are the radio operator Iskander, known as Gagarin, and the spirited Nazira. While Nazira finds it increasing difficult to conceal her love for Iskander by means of her unconventional behaviour, Iskander is evidently not only crazy about Baikonur and the vastness of outer space, but also deeply smitten with the beautiful French astronaut Julie Mahé, whose journey to the stars he wistfully follows on television.
When down-on-his-luck part-time high school wrestling coach Mike agrees to become legal guardian to an elderly man, his ward's troubled grandson turns out to be a star grappler, sparking dreams of a big win -- until the boy's mother retrieves him.
With his wife Elizabeth on life support after a boating accident, Hawaiian land baron, Matt King takes his daughters on a trip from Oahu to Kauai to confront the young real estate broker, who was having an affair with Elizabeth before her misfortune.
Tired of the noise and madness of New York and the crushing conventions of late Eisenhower-era America, itinerant journalist Paul Kemp travels to the pristine island of Puerto Rico to write for a local San Juan newspaper run by the downtrodden editor Lotterman.
The story is loosely based on a 17th century erotic Chinese story named The Carnal Prayer Mat and follows a young scholar named Yangsheng who gets married to the beautiful daughter of a local merchant.