Originally from England, Jonathan has moved his family to an unspecified former Soviet Republic because of his wife’s archaeology job. Jonathan operates his own “tracing” agency with the help of a photographer and another investigator, Frank. The agency takes small cases of following errant husbands, seeking out fake designer handbag sellers, that type of thing. They don’t really do missing persons. But when a middle-aged couple comes to the agency for help in finding their missing daughter, Jonathan takes one look at the child’s picture and he can’t say no.
Jonathan is married to Sarah and they have a young daughter of their own. Jonathan spends each day drowning in jealousy and anger over the discovery that his wife and his partner Frank have had an affair. Each night when he goes home to Sarah, he is at a loss to face her betrayal of their marriage. When he goes back to work in the morning, he’s confronted with the infuriating visage of Frank.
Then Jonathan rescues a woman who jumps off a bridge into the river. As the days go by, he finds himself drawn back to this woman again and again to listen to her play her cello. Her cello music continues to haunt him even when he’s not with her. The woman’s sadness somehow echoes Jonathan’s own feelings of confusion and despair.
Told against a backdrop of Eastern European protests, this is a haunting story of a man’s loss of identity, the tumultuous results of one spouse’s affair, and whether or not this couple can find their way back to each other.
When I first started this book, the language and writing style threw me off a bit and I was sure it wasn’t for me. I almost never pick up a book without finishing it though, and I am so glad I didn’t put this down! I gulped down this book in a just a few hours and it was well worth it. When I read that the author was in film-making it didn’t surprise me, as the story is told as if it were a series of scenes from Hollywood’s classic film noir period. The dreamlike landscape unfolds beautifully and it will leave you chilled.
I want to thank the publisher (Bloomsbury USA) for providing me with the ARC through Netgalley for an honest review.