At the very end of the twentieth century, Miroslav/Frederick comes from America to his native provincial town, the imaginary but very real Gradec, where, attending the funeral of his stepmother, he meets his old love, the unforgettable Gabrijela, whose running away with the circus has marked his whole life. The two old people try to flare up the flame of adolescent love in the world which disappears together with the century which reaches its end, melting behind them like sugar wool. Gabrijela and Miroslav led totally different lives and through their destinies that time gets distorted like in a mirror hall. Miroslav is a Jew, who was brought up without the knowledge of his Jewishness. He is a parlor leftist, skeptic, individualist, scientist who always has doubts and believes only in the ideals of a better and fairer society. Unlike him, Gabrijela has always readily accepted every religion, socialism, Catholicism and nationalism alike, and now she believes in the need for peace and living together. She gives herself completely and unquestioningly to all her religions, putting herself and her talent for fortune telling and curing diseases by old, almost witchlike methods into them.
Through the destinies of these two unusual characters, Bauer has given a graphic picture of our provinces, their citizens and the prejudices that have burdened them from times immemorial. Carousel is a novel of strong personalities whose destinies have a universal value, and their efforts to survive in the mill-wheel of history acquire the characteristics of true heroism.

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