Edward has lost his short term-memory. He hopes it will return when he sees the cottage in which he lives. He recognizes his overcoat on the hook, his books, the double bed. The mystery however, is Naomi. Edward has no recollection of who she is or why she has left him a love letter.
With Thubron's customary clarity he draws a bleak, amnesiac world in which a young man must face again old griefs and linger 'like a coward, just this side of knowing'. On the other side, the memory of a destructive, obsessive relationship looms.