The Wind Changes is set in the troubled Dublin of 1921. Elizabeth, a young artist has a sexual relationship with a cold-hearted English writer, Arion and then begins a relationship with the equally indifferent political activist, Sean. This girl doesn't learn! This is a thoughtful and reflective book and Manning's writing is beautifully descriptive of nature and the sea:
All the houses there faced the sea. It would have been funny to have lived in one that did not. It would have been like sitting with your back to the driver in a bus. In the winter the spray was flung over the roofs and flooded the back gardens. Her cousins used to roll their trousers up to their knees and bale the yard with buckets. The salt killed nearly all the plants. Only the aconite lived through the winter and in the spring its leaves would glitter with salt as thick as hoar frost.