Two strangers, by chance, are brought together for a moment out of time. Both in the midst of acute personal crises, they draw the strength from this brief encounter to reconstruct their shattered lives. The woman is Rose Menusier, attractive midthirties mother of two small children, separated from her handsome television actor husband and eking out a threadbare existence in a London flat. The man is Dr. Janos Macek, a Czech émigré and Harley Street pediatrician, who lives in the flat above Rose, and whose apparent success and conventionality are belied by his nightly floor-pacing that drives and already strained Roses to near distraction.
Both Rose and Dr. Macek are on a headlong course to a moment of decision. Rose is being beleaguered by her intense, irrational husband into giving him their little girl. Calculating and malicious, he has nearly succeeded in convincing Rose first that she is going blind, and then that she is on the thin edge of complete nervous collapse.
Janos Macek's crisis is one of conscience and heart. To protect his aging father back in Czechoslovakia he must agree to act as an undercover agent in the East. As a political liberal of the Dubcek persuasion, Macek has already sacrificed wife, son, and homeland in his opposition to the totaliltarian regime. But his loyalty to his vulnerable father goes deep, and the alternatives to spying seem to him slim.