Ivan Solansky was born in 2040. The year the story opens is 2005. Ivan is celebrating his thirty-fifth birthday as he moves backward in time. This is the story of a lonely man, a man whose circumstances prevent him from forming any relationships, man or woman, lover or friend.
The story of Ivan is unusual, certainly, but is not much different from that of many of us who find life lonely as we try to cope with bitterness derived from those who would treat their fellow human beings as less than worthy of their affections or concerns. Ivan does have unique advantages because of his situation but one must weigh those against the horribly complicated world he lives in, trying to establish friendships with those he passes through life.
Ivan opens this story observing a murder of a lovely young lady. He is curious enough as to the reason for the murder that he pursues it into his future. He finds the man who committed the murder to be a rogue who has grabbed life from many unsuspecting, susceptible victims caught in money woes often of their own making. Ivan works his way through the story pursuing this wretched man, not because he chose to but because life seems to continue to direct him to solve the problem. In the end, Ivan does garner a solution after so many tribulations.