A promising American scholar, Josh Goetz, is left the last writings of his Swiss mentor and colleague, Professor Peter Müller, sent to him just before Müller’s death. They are a strange series of fragments on a seemingly disparate range of topics including puppets, tics, claustrophilia, floating, posterity, and jokes, the artist Giovanni Segantini and the author Robert Walser. What connects these short pieces, and do they contain clues to explain Müller’s suicide? Feeling a sense of responsibility about the manuscript, the chances of its eventual publication get tangled up with Josh’s burgeoning relationship with his young editor, Megan Taylor. The small is a story of rivalry, abandonment, and abuse, in which literature, art, and philosophy hold the key to a psychological case study of estrangement and despair. It is about the brutality of university culture today; about the failings of family and friendship across time and space, politics and geography; and about the complicated legacy of the European twentieth century. It is about what happens when a world gets lost. The small is the first book in a trilogy.