This volume contains five short stories centering on women at important milestones in their lives?romance, marriage, childbirth. Perhaps most successful among them is the superb Kimimoto-ke no yukai (The Kimimoto Kidnapping), which was the first story the author wrote after giving birth to her first child in the summer of 2011. Three years after Yoshie and Manabu Kimimoto got married at age 26, they are blessed with a baby girl, whom they name Sakura. Ten months later, Sakura has learned to stand with help. One day, Yoshie takes her along on a shopping trip to the mall near their new condominium. She stops for the briefest moment to look at some accessories on display, then turns back to her daughter's stroller to find it gone. She flies into a panic. When she seeks help from security and the mall manager, they suggest it might be a kidnapping. She discovers that she left her phone at home, and without it she has no idea how to reach Manabu. At the manager's urging, she hurries home so she can call her husband, but then . . .
The author offers us a vivid window into the heart of a new mother, from her deep love to her overweening pride, and the relentless stress of feeling that she can't take her eyes off her child for a single moment even after the baby's crying has kept her up half the night. Things that are beyond one's control or do not go as desired can easily lead a person astray, as can the slightest of misunderstandings that might arise with others. This collection deftly portrays the moments of weakness people experience in their search for the key to ordinary happiness.