The protagonist, Nicolas Sadeur, a hermaphrodite, washes ashore on an Australian island naked and discovers, to his great surprise, that all islanders are hermaphrodites and walk about naked, just like him.
Hermaphroditism symbolizes the complete equality and symmetry that prevails on this island.
People even have six fingers and toes.
When a non-hermaphrodite baby is born, this is regarded as abnormal and the child is killed.
But how do hermaphrodites reproduce? This remains a mystery, because the islanders are very secretive on the subject.
Although they are accustomed to going around naked, they feel ashamed of everything physical.
They go to the toilet only once a week, and they do so in complete solitude.
They are also vegetarian.
Their language is construed in a way that leaves no room for misunderstanding. Thanks to this transparent communication, these Australians are silent most of the time. Half a word is enough.
Once these Australians have reached a certain age, they ask permission to return to their “natural home”. If the answer is yes, they drink a large draught of “Balf”, nectar from the Tree of Happiness, and die blissfully.