KATE Keddie’s husband John is missing.
Only hours earlier, with their daughter Mia, Kate waited for an excruciatingly long time in the arrivals area of Melbourne International Airport for a man who was not on his nominated flight home from a week-long conference in London that it has now emerged he was never even registered to attend.
Baffled and disillusioned, Kate is searching desperately for clues as to what, exactly, has been unfolding in John’s apparently parallel life for the past few months.
The situation isn’t helped by the fact John’s parents are behaving oddly. His father is bluntly critical of the marriage and his mother is claiming to have had a religious vision that confirms John is not yet dead.
Abby Gilpin’s husband is also absent – not physically, in Ray’s case, but certainly on an emotional level.
Abby is trapped in a numbingly mundane routine of restocking shelves and counting out change at the supermarket on Belport Island, a popular holiday hotspot off the southeastern coast of mainland Australia, accessible by ferry from the Bellarine Peninsula near Geelong. Belport’s off-season population is claustrophobically sparse compared to the hordes of high-season visitors who flood across the water to take up temporary residence in summer.
Ray has barely touched his wife in weeks – or is it months? Abby knows something feels off in their relationship but rather than raise the subject directly with Ray opts to bury herself in her other great passion: taxidermy.
The common denominator between the troubled couples is the island: John Keddie spent time there as a child but has been reluctant as an adult to make the most of the house he and Kate own in a quiet corner of this laid-back community.
Can the superficially blissful Keddies’ and the openly distant Gilpins’ lives somehow be intertwined?