Sumire is just 22 and is an aspiring writer with a fondness for Jack Kerouac. She is living of a family stipend, and cannot afford much so wears second hand coats and robust boots. She is slowly falling in love with Miu, a glamourous business woman who is seventeen years older than her. K, is the friend and confident that Sumire talks to about anything and everything; as he hears of her falling head over heels in love with Miu, he doesn’t feel that he can tel Sumire just how he feels about her.
Miu asks Sumire to come and work as a personal assistant with her and as their friendship deepens, Miu is still unaware of Sumire’s infatuation. Now she has a job, she quits smoking neatens up her clothing and finds a nicer apartment. As Miu imports wine, she needs to go to Europe to find new vintages and asks Sumire to accompany her. K is still in Japan and stars receiving letters as they travel around the continent. The date that they planned to come home passes and in her latest dispatch her reads that they are taking some time to relax and unwind in a cottage on a Greek island.
Suddenly he gets a call from Miu. She wants him to fly to Greece to help in the search as Sumire has vanished without a trace…
As I have come to expect from Murakami books now, it is surreal, where you have the impression that you are seeing the story unfold through a misted window and is infused with subtle underlying erotic undertones. The tension in the story is set with the disappearance of Sumire and the love triangle, even though each party doesn’t know what the other feels. Possibly this is my favourite of his so far, but most importantly (and amusingly) it does follow some the of themes in this chart: