Summertime. While his wife and daughters are away on holiday, the husband – a librarian by profession – back home at work in the stultifying heat of a provincial Swiss town, indulges in reminiscence. With light amusement he recalls old love affairs. Memories come back of student days in Zurich and academic research in Paris, of starting family life, of trifling matters and crucial turning-points. But again and again the narrator also returns to the present; he describes his work at the library, life in his small town, acquaintances old and new and finally, in the autumn, a journey with his wife to China.
The author's ironic but amiable look at life in all its diversity, the combination of laconic recounting and academic recollection, day-dreaming sequences and conscious remembering make for an enjoyable and intellectually stimulating read.