The plot is simple: Hajime meets and falls in love with a girl in elementary school, but he loses touch with her when his family moves to another town. He drifts through high school, college, and his 20s, before marrying and settling into a career as a successful bar owner. Then his childhood sweetheart returns, weighed down with secrets.
Murakami gives us a dizzying, intoxicating look this time round, with lashes of lost love, passion and regret. Complex love triangles and relationships might seem like a cliched topic, but Murakami's handle of the language and plot makes it a breath of fresh air.