With the vivid memory of his long-gone childhood friends Max Patsy and Cockeye etched in his mind his ferociously loyal partners-in-crime during their rise to prominence in New York's Prohibition-era Lower East Side the defeated penniless and guilt-ridden former gangster David Noodles Aaronson returns to Manhattan. Not knowing what to expect while on a mission to shed light on his opaque past grizzled Noodles reunites with his only living friend Fat Moe after thirty-five haunted years of self-exile. However the relentless piercing sound of culpability stands in the way of finding closure as the inscrutable content of a well-worn leather suitcase further complicates matters. And now against the backdrop of a torn conscience the sad and bittersweet recollections of more than fifty years of love death and everything in between become inextricably intertwined leading to even more puzzling questions. But what are a man's options when he is left with nothing?