The title piece of this compilation of 12 stories tells the tale of Ayano, a writer. She once lived with Takashi, a man she met while traveling, but a half-year has passed since he quit his job, fell in with another woman, and left their home, and Ayano is in the depths of despair. Her relationship with him had been so fulfilling that she can no longer find satisfaction with another man.
Ayano lives with one regret: that she should have cried when Takashi came to her and apologized for sleeping with the other woman. When she takes walks?her favorite pastime?in the local cemetery, she imagines what her own tombstone will say on it when she is gone. This brings her to the brink of crying, but her desire to be strong prevents her from producing the tears.
Another story in the collection, Te (The Hand), depicts an evening at the home of 37-year-old Reiko, who lives alone with her dog. Takeru, an old friend of many years, barges in to make dinner. They once had sex with each other, but it never blossomed into romance. On this evening, Reiko casts her thoughts back to another man she once loved and realizes how much she is taking advantage of Takeru's kind intentions. She fights back tears as she sends him home, a smile on her face.
Writer Seiko Tanabe, a member of the jury that awarded Kaori Ekuni the Naoki Prize for this work, had high praise for it: "The writing is simple in style yet meaty. The world she depicts appears at first ordinary, but there are hints at the frightening chasms that exist in our lives. She displays an admirable capacity for constructing novelistic landscapes in her tales." Indeed, Ekuni's writing is finely honed and without flaw, and this collection brims with delicious tension.