In a quiet seaside town near Genoa, experts gather for a linguistics conference. One speaker, Philipp Perlmann, is recently widowed and, struggling to contend with his grief, is unable to write his keynote address. As the hour approaches, an increasingly desperate Perlmann decides to plagiarize the work of Leskov, a Russian colleague who cannot attend, and pass it off as his own.
But when he learns that Leskov has arrived unexpectedly in Genoa, Perlmann must protect himself from exposure by constructing a maelstrom of lies and deceit that will push him to the brink of murder.
In this intense psychological drama, the bestselling author of Night Train to Lisbon again takes the listener on a journey into the depths of human emotion and the language of memory and loss.