The only thing the newest professor, Allen Smythe, wants to do is think. Think about hope (he's against it); think about not thinking about his recent breakup. But the department's a busy place. Frederick Ash, the prof with the Jag, is pushing his plan for Just-In-Time Philosophy. Chair Gerhardt Gerber seems to be courting an American superstar as his successor. And a young undergrad is causing Allen distress with her (possibly imaginary) infatuation. But after a shocking faculty death, Allen finds himself immersed in the rumors and whispers of a bitter power struggle. Then a stranger shares a secret that thrusts him into an agonizing dilemma: whether to speak, or stay silent. A comedy of manners and a tragedy of doubts, The Realm of Means explores the bonds of friendship that hold us together, and the invisible wires that reel us away to our fates.