Author Kaho Nakayama probes the essence of human nature in a tale of bitterness and alienation engendered by love. Tokuko Kawashima, who lives in New York, reflects on the four-year relationship she had with the author Rui Yamanobe, who died ten years earlier at the age of 28. When they first met one rainy night, Tokuko was at a bookstore when the other woman struck up a conversation with her. Tokuko, then 29, fell instantly in love with her.
Rui had made her first big splash on the literary scene at the age of 19 and was acclaimed by some as the second coming of Jean Genet, but she had been unable to produce another novel in the five years since. An extremely self-centered person, she lies habitually, has a volatile temper, and is deeply jealous. She says that her father, a former baseball player, went to prison for assaulting her mother and twin brother on suspicion of incest, and that her mother is in a mental hospital, but there is reason to doubt her claims. Tokuko, who has no previous experience with same-sex relationships, is led down the path of carnal pleasure by the younger Rui, who calls herself bisexual. Three years later they come to a bitter split. Tokuko's ailing father has been given one year to live, and in part to please him she decides to leave Rui and marry Kihachiro, a high-school teacher she'd previously had a long-term relationship with. Six months later, on Christmas Eve, Tokuko and Rui run into each other again at a bookstore. Rui's second novel is on prominent display: it is a graphic account of her relationship with Tokuko. Though married, Tokuko resumes her sexual relationship with Rui, but then Rui goes missing . . .