When an American mother-of-three finds herself overwhelmed in her new home in Switzerland, a visitor pops up offering to cure her son's asthma, her husband's growing indifference, and her own resentment of life. Is he the village nutter or - as he claims to be - the greatest mind of the eighteenth century? This talkative character wearing kneebreeches and wig is the last straw. Though she begs him to go home, he unpacks his mouldy trunk instead. Slowly V. becomes her warmest friend as they laugh and quarrel, and he teaches her the best lesson of all: how to live life to its fullest.