Set in a small market town in France, this is a bleak story of prejudice, isolation and loneliness. Jonas Milk is a Russian Jew who runs a second-hand book shop and leads a quiet unassuming life. Married to a promiscuous younger French woman, he wakes one day to find she has disappeared. Assuming she has run off with another man for a few days, as she has done before, Jonas tells his neighbours and his wife’s family that she has gone to visit a friend. When the wife fails to return as expected people begin to suspect him of murdering her. Rather than admit his wife’s previous infidelities, the little man maintains his lie in the face of increasing hostility and isolation until he is driven to despair.