Frank and Joan's marriage is in trouble. Having spent three decades failing to understand each other in their unfinished house in the French Alps, Joan's frustrations with her inattentive husband have reached breaking point.
Frank, retreating ever further into his obscure hobbies, is distracted by an epistolary affair with his long-lost German girlfriend. Things are getting tense. But it's Christmas, and the couple are preparing to welcome home their three far-flung children.
The children, though, are faring little better in love themselves. Maya, a gender expert mother-of-two, is considering leaving her family and running off with a woman; Wim is considering leaving his girlfriend; and Lois, who spends her time turning war documentaries into love poems, is facing a change of heart.
Written with a rare precision and insight, the author explores the thorniness of familial love and its capacity to endure with warmth, wit and disarming honesty.