Paul Gallard grew up believing that if you did good, good things would happen. The Telo shattered all his illusions about how the universe operated, since how could something so bad happen to so many apparently good people?
Since the pandemic, he has tried to live by his old beliefs about how the world should work, but the outcome maddeningly refuses to conform to his expectations. He gives away his vitamins and not only does he get sick, but the children he gives them to die. He rescues his cousin Jay from a suicide attempt, helps him quit the Kevorks and get off drugs, but instead of joining him in piety and good deeds, Jay forages for food with an ex-Kevork and goes on mysterious (and no doubt immoral) errands within the Regency Hotel, disappearing into the top floors for hours at a time. And as for pretty Leila Ossarian, it seems that no matter how nice Paul is to her, she never follows through on any of her promises to spend more time with him.
In a world that is so different from his expectations, Paul is struggling to hang on. He sees immorality everywhere he looks and he fears for the future. Nothing he was raised to believe in has proven correct and it’s the sort of situation that can make a guy question his sanity and make other people wonder if he ever had it to begin with.