Pushing forty-eight, Mr. Taura, deputy sales director of a prefab company, falls in love with a woman who turns out to be sixty-seven years old. But then, inexplicably, she gets physically younger every time he sees her.
Obviously we're in the realm of fantasy here. But the author makes it feel real with the painful honesty of his first-person narrator and dialog that rings weirdly true.
There's plenty of evidence that Taura's extraordinary experiences are not illusionary. But he's just had a mental breakdown at work, so can we really take his word for anything? Not knowing keeps things interesting.
Taura's adventures are not just emotional. A great deal happens in this 187-page novel, including some serious run-ins with society. There's also a strong element of eroticism. And there are touches of humor - or at least a sense of astonishment at the absurdity of Taura's situation.
The Japanese have always been fascinated by the seasons and their fleeting beauty. Perhaps this is a book about seasons, but with the flow of time reversed. Sadly, time is never on our side, whichever direction it takes. Time is the enemy of lovers in particular.
I found myself liking the novel even more, thinking about it later. Though very simply written, it lends itself to symbolic interpretations.
This novel should appeal to readers who like bizarre love stories, edgy Japanese literature and/or eerie psychological novels. It's probably not the book for readers who are uncomfortable with the paranormal.