A writer takes his family (wife, son and 3 year old daughter) to a ballet in St. Petersburg, Russia, and he finds himself entranced by a young Siberian woman next to him. She speaks good English having been an exchange student in Texas during high school yet he has a series of somewhat secretive conversations with her in German.
He exchanges email addresses with the budding female college student. He imagines an erotic encounter with her but ultimately, that is where his imaginings stop. His wife though, as the story opens, makes it clear that he is a philanderer and the reader, I believe, is left to believe that rather than showing his strength in not pursuing this young girl, we are to see the writer as vulnerable, a man who clearly has faults but even with those faults, he is someone who can be overcome with feeling and longing when the choice to be faithful is only partially in his hands.
I really liked the writing of this author and would read more. The story flew by and it is one I'll remember for the metaphor of Tchaikovsky's bust mounted on a cemetery wall. It is part of one of those scenes, that pivotal climax of a story, that stays with you.