Kenji Tanabe finds maps easier to read than people. At the elite Tokyo gallery where he works, he sells antique maps by selling the stories that he sees within their traces: their contribution to progress, their dramatic illustrations, their exquisite compasses. But no compass or cartography can guide him through the events that will follow the sudden and unexpected offer of a job in America.
There, Theodora Appel runs a company that is more like a family. Brilliantly successful, beguilingly secretive, she gradually initiates Kenji into her rarefied world. Only someone like him - quiet, intensely committed and discreet - could be allowed to see beneath the surface to what his employer is hiding. Theodora has never recovered from the death of her lover, and her obsession to reclaim the past threatens them all.
Moving across countries and cultures, The Consolation of Maps charts an attempt to understand the tide of history, the geography of people and the boundless territory of loss.