Still bearing scars from the gulag, a freed POW traverses Russia to arrive at the Polish town of Lodz. In its massive Hotel Savoy, he meets a surreal cast of characters, each eagerly awaiting the return from America of a rich man named Bloomfield. Like Europe itself in 1932, the hotel is the stage upon which characters follow fate to its tragic destination.
The Hotel itself seems to function as a mixture between a spider's web and a somnifer! It is a trap for those returning from the First World War, for the poor and for the once rich.
There is a missing Greek owner, an old lift boy who holds the trunks of poor guests as security against payment, and a factory owner who is less concerned with the ongoing strike in his factory than trying to make money through speculation on the currency market.
Throughout the short novel there is an awful sense of an imploding world - of a suspended collapse just waiting for a trigger to release it. The characters seem to wish it and at the same time dread the event.
The trigger is provided in the end by one of those silly, unimportant events which are of no significance in themselves.
There is something truly tragic and at the same time terrifying in this story of a Hotel peopled as it is by the flotsam of a disintegrated world.