Roman becomes a suspect in the boy's disappearance. His wife M. orders him out of the house because, she says, she can't stand his scent in their home. He has become repulsive to her. He barges into strangers' homes on the slight suspicion that they might be responsible for the boy's disappearance. He haunts cemeteries and his old childhood home in Forest Hill. He roams the streets. He picks fights with strangers. He follows an instinct that tells him that Simon is still alive. Roman eventually loses his job and his capacity to get through the day doing what he no longer cares about. Nothing else matters but Simon's return.
I enjoyed the book but it is disturbing to think that this beat out Joseph Boyden's vastly superior Three Day Road for the Governor General's Award for Fiction (English) in 2005. Perhaps it was the simplicity and painful honesty of the plot which persuaded the judges; it is compelling but not a story that should have beat out Boyden.