Philip is in love with Alice. As the novel opens, he is beginning to lose her - not to another man, as he fears, but to, literally, nothing. Alice is a physicist, and a team at the university where both she and Philip work has created a hole, a vacuum, a doorway of nothingness inside the laboratory. They call it "Lack". Alice becomes obsessed with Lack, just as Philip is obsessed by Alice.
The novel is at the same time an astute and wise portrait of unrequited love (albeit of a very unusual kind), a hilarious academic parody, a novel of ideas, and a social satire. It is utterly original, but in the school of Thomas Pynchon, Don DeLillo, Katherine Dunn, and David Foster Wallace.
Passion, humor, yearning, and knowledge are blended together in a suspenseful love story that could be characterized as "American magical realism".