Jules Epstein has vanished, leaving no trace but a rundown flat and a monogrammed briefcase abandoned in the desert. To Epstein's family, the disappearance of a man whose drive and avidity have been a force to be reckoned with for 68 years marks the conclusion of a gradual fading. This transformation began in the wake of Epstein's parents' deaths, and continued with his divorce after more than 35 years of marriage, his retirement from a New York legal firm and the rapid shedding of possessions. With the last of his wealth and a nebulous plan, he departs for the Tel Aviv Hilton. Meanwhile, a novelist leaves her husband and children behind in Brooklyn and checks into the same hotel, hoping to unlock her writer's block. But when a man claiming to be a retired professor of literature recruits her for a project involving Kafka, she is drawn into a mystery that will take her on a metaphysical journey.