Solitude is set in present-day Los Angeles, a city more distinctly Mexican in character than any other large metropolis in the United States. Its Chicanos and Chicanas are at once both Mexican and American, not fully being either.
Gabriel, a rich man, returns to his old neighborhood to attend to the funeral of Carmen, the poor mother he left behind in the neighborhood long ago. He abandoned her, his lover Ramona, and his best pal Johnny, fleeing their impoverished world. Gabriel achieved success and wealth on his new path, marrying Sonia, a woman consistent with his new station in life.
They're all brought back together again by Carmen's death, death being the great equalizer. They're accompanied at this sad time by Ramona's grown son Angel, and two mysterious characters: one, called only The Man, ostensibly just the limo driver but, as it turns out, an authority on the art of making love; the other, a cellist conveniently named Chelo. Why a cellist? Put enough Mexicans in a room, and there will inevitably be music.
The group repairs to Gabriel's upscale home, where Juana, his domestic (the term is ironic here), has gone on strike to participate in the Million Immigrant March happening, as fate would have it, that very day.
A single day's events will change the lives of nearly all these people forever. We may ultimately cross the threshold of death in solitude, but a death can bring people long in solitude together, if sometimes only for a while.