Everything in the world after coming backward in time is too loud and too bright.
The flashback story- they were travelling and working in a new area- telepathic software. They were nearing a breakthrough but they were arguing very heavily every day. An error in the experiment leads to his disappearance. After a period of three years, he is considered dead.
What has actually occured is that the experiment had been successful but only in one direction.
When he gets to the new world it is half-virtual and half real. Even as he adjusts to one situation and date in can change.The characters can be the same people in different outfits.
After a period of anger and depression, she finally gets back to work. Immediately she understands there may be a solution.This solution involved going backwards in time, in order to discover the real root of the situation. Change one right thing and everything can be changed.
She hadn't really wanted to do this in such an isolated place. He insists and this becomes the reason he is so hard to find. In the city there are more coordinate points. More minds, more coordinate points. People are all connected as in "six degrees of separation."
Right now she has gotten him back. This is shown in a flashback where he appears in Central Park near the tennis courts. Ashbery's book "Tennis Court Oath" comes into it.
Now it is too loud and too bright.This situation encompasses instability in the time factor. Everyone is getting older- travelling in time together.
(image-people in different cities all over the world).
Of course it is incredibly illegal to time travel from that era.