When Conrad fails to return from a science conference abroad, Eleanor's first thought is one of relief; he might finally have discovered her affair. Or perhaps he's simply given up on their marriage, tired of having the less successful career. As the days pass and his absence in the family fold grows stronger, Eleanor begins to makes sense of what has happened to their lives to get them to this point. Leaving his family in Manchester to scrabble for clues, unsure of their feelings towards him, Conrad loses himself in the cold foggy streets of Bologna. Ill, confused, and desperately trying to avoid becoming a whistle-blower by a blackmailer, he revisits the stages of his long marriage to El, from their early happiness to the grief and anger he now feels. As Conrad and Eleanor examine their marriage, they move closer to an understanding of what it is that matters most to each of them.