A snowstorm is about to hit a remote lake in North America. An Italian-Canadian young man is waiting for it, standing completely still by the window of his cottage. Peter Orlandi, that’s his name, came to live here in absolute solitude after his mother’s suicide. A suicide he witnessed without trying to stop her. The stillness of body and spirit seems to him like the right kind of weapon agaist the dangerous softness of the present world.
Yet nothing stays still for very long, and nobody can be alone forever.
All it takes is a brave postwoman who, in spite of the terrible snowstorm, delivers to him a telegram from Italy; all it takes is a half-sister, the obscure object of incestuous desire, who begs him to go back home; all it takes is the news that his father is terminally ill to break his stillness and make him return to his old family home. Thus Peter enters his father’s bedroom to suffocate him with a pillow, fully accepting the double role of victim and slayer. He is ready to make come true the omen that followed him during his voyage home: the sacrifice that turns a man into a handful of dust and allows the rest of his family to keep on living.