Jim is an expatriate Australian artist, teaching in Canada. His wife, Zoe, is suffering under the combined burden of the climate, isolation, and Jim's stubborn selfishness. His failure as a painter is emphasised by the arrival of his confrere, Mike, glossy and successful in the New York Art scene. With Mike is his current girlfriend, Molly, who turns out to be the wife of Jim's college boss. Confrontations follow, on personal, professional and national levels-with comic and tragic overtones.