Thomas Janeway (a character modeled after the author) is a British expat in Seattle; he is a writer and professor whe spends too much time in his head than in the real world. He is forever caught up in his writing and quickly loses the attention of his wife, Beth. Beth is a successful "dot-commer" who has problems of her own. She is very busy at work, concerned for the well-being of her son and bored of her inattentive husband. Thomas is quite shocked when Beth leaves him and takes their young son, Finn, and moves to a nearby apartment complex.
His life falls apart around him and Finn loses himself even more deeply into his work and other distractions. He hires a talented but crafty illegal immigrant, Chick, to remodel his house. He hopes this will help him deal with his problems but it only adds to them. Meanwhile Beth is starting an affair with a much younger coworker.
Thomas takes an innocent walk to do some thinking one day and becomes a likely suspect in a kidnap-murder. Of course he is innocent but he is so lost in his mind that he cannot prove it. He has an illegal immigrant working on and living in his house, and his wife has just left him. Under the circumstances he is involuntarily removed from his teaching post and unable to clear his name. Thomas is having a serious personal crisis.
This report prepared by P Cohen