An unassuming, unambitious man named Motti, who owns a dog named Laika, has a good friend named Menachem. Motti and Menachem drink beer together every week, and Motti spends the rest of his time daydreaming an imaginary love story for himself and his neighbor, Ariella. Motti is the very picture of inertia, until, one night, a drunk Menachem, driving home from a bar with Motti, runs over a woman and kills her. Menachem has a wife and children, so without any fuss, Motti—who has nothing—decides to take the blame, going to prison instead of his friend . . . and finding that his life there isn't too different from his life outside. "Oh dear," says the narrator, wondering how to tell us anything about such empty lives, "look at them, at all the people in this novel . . . if someone would really hug them, if someone would hold them tightly, they would fall to pieces."