Prague is full of metaphors. They're not lost on Joseph. He's on a stone bridge between his old life and his future. He's building a castle of every architectural style around his heart. He needs to throw his obsession with an elusive Czech girl out the window, in order to crystallize his sense of self. He's a lump of clay waiting to be animated, and he's an alchemist in search of life's secret formulae, to be engraved on a shem and placed beneath his tongue.