As she walks in the rain amid the skyscrapers of the Shinjuku district, expatriate translator Lucy Fly looks down into a puddle and sees a reflection of Teiji, as intense and independent as Lucy herself, a young man who works in a noodle shop by day and takes photographs by night. From that moment, her life will never be the same. As the two become lovers, Lucy retreats into a world apart. Content with the second self who completes her, she needs no other companionship. She keeps up a few friendships for old times’ sake—one with Natsuko, a fellow translator who works in Lucy’s office and looks constantly for happiness in the natural beauty of the Tokyo landscape; another, more remote, with Mrs. Ide and Mrs. Katoh, who played with Lucy in a string quartet until the death of their first violinist, Mrs. Yamamoto. But the friendship that proves most dangerous is with Bob, a bland American she meets at the dentist—because Bob introduces her to Lily Bridges, another expatriate Englishwoman from Yorkshire, who represents both the past Lucy wants to forget and the future she cannot face. And while Lily’s presence is a source of pain to Lucy, her disappearance is a source of peril, threatening not only Lucy’s freedom but her life.
As it rocks gently back and forth between past and present, Jones's narrative is spare, but spares nothing. Gripping and haunting—an unforgettable debut.