Isabel, Owen and Julia were childhood friends. But when they were 15, Julia disappeared without a trace. Years later, Isabel returns to her home town in the north of England for Owen's funeral. She hadn't seen him since they burned down the supermarket together; he was sent to prison and she, just shy of her 18th birthday, to an offenders' centre.
Runa is a young Japanese high school teacher leaving the country to avoid the scandal she has created by sleeping with one of her students. She steals her sisters passport and boards the ferry to Shanghai. Then, careful to impersonate her sister, she is quiet, docile and discreet Meanwhile, on the last stretch of a fraught and tiring mission to find a wife, an Englishman also boards the ferry. Rebuffed in Tokyo, Ralph hopes that on the Chinese mainland he will meet a gentle, beautiful girl to return home with. When these two meet, suppressing at first their secrets and obsessions on this long and claustrophobic journey, we enter a desolate, emotional landscape as Runas journey begins to turn into a surreal and terrifying nightmare . . .