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Sumire is an aspiring writer who survives on a family stipend and the creative input of her only friend, the novel's male narrator and protagonist, known in the text only as 'K'. K is an elementary school teacher, 25 years old, and in love with Sumire, though she does not quite share his feelings. At a wedding, Sumire meets an ethnic Korean woman, Miu, who is 17 years her senior. The two strike up a conversation and Sumire finds herself attracted to the older woman. This is the first time she has ever been sexually drawn to anybody. Miu soon asks Sumire to come work for her. This meeting and the ensuing relationship between the women leads to Sumire changing: she starts wearing nicer clothes, gets a better apartment, and quits smoking; however, she also develops a writer's block.

K suddenly begins to receive letters from Europe written by Sumire. With them, he is able to track Sumire's and Miu's business travels across the continent. In her last letter, Sumire mentions that instead of coming home as originally planned, she and Miu are to spend some extra time on a Greek island vacationing.

After a short while, K begins to call Sumire's house wondering when she will return. The only answer he gets, however, is from her answering machine. He soon gets a surprising call from Miu, who asks him to fly to Greece and mentions that something has happened to Sumire. Miu doesn't explain much, but it's clear the matter is urgent. The connection is shabby, and their phone connection is soon lost.

K's new school year is starting the week after Miu's call, but finding Sumire's well-being more important, he leaves for Greece the next day. He meets Miu for the first time, and she tells him that Sumire has vanished without a trace. She tells him about the string of events that led to the point of Sumire's disappearance, in which Miu was unable to reciprocate physically when Sumire initiated a sexual encounter. Miu is very pleased to have K around, but worries that Sumire may have committed suicide; K reassures her that Sumire would not do that.

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