Zachariah Smythe, an art scholar of no reputation, recovering alcoholic, and whose wife has committed suicide, goes to Madrid. He thinks a missing artist, Fernando De La Cruz, is the greatest Spanish painter of the twentieth century. No one agrees. Enter Teresa Flores, a beautiful and brilliant curator driven to fury by love and art. Is Teresa trying to help Zach or kill him? Is Zach falling madly in love or does he merely have a death wish? Is Fernando's true genius his ability to remain mysteriously absent and still drive Zach and Teresa toward either ruin or salvation? And why does everyone, even a Blind Man, know Zach is American before he even opens his mouth?