Sebastian and Oskar have been friends since their days studying physics at university, when both were considered future Nobel Prize candidates. But their lives took divergent paths, as did their scientific views. Whenever Oskar comes to visit from his prestigious research post in Geneva, there is tension in the air, and it doesn't help their friendship that he feels Sebastian has not lived up to his intellectual capacities, having chosen marriage and fatherhood as an exit strategy. A few days after a particularly heated argument between the two men, Sebastian leaves his son sleeping in the back seat while he goes into a service station. When he returns, the car has disappeared without trace. His phone rings and a voice informs him that in order to get his son back he must kill a man. As Sebastian's life unravels, the only person he can safely reach out to is Oskar. Then Detective Schilf comes on the scene, with a most unorthodox method of uncovering the truth. With intelligence, wit, precision, and grace, Juli Zeh crafts a philosophical thriller which uses the clash of the ideal and the material worlds, the bending of reality, and the search for a definition of time to explore the ideas of guilt and innocence and the infinite configurations of love.