One night a foreign business analysis in Tokyo sits down in his spacious high rise apartment and begins typing something. The words pour out and exhaust him. He soon realises that the words appearing on his laptop are memories of his first days in Nagasaki four years ago.
Nagasaki was a place full of spirits, a garrulous Welsh roommate, and a lingering mystery.
Somehow he must finish the story of four years ago- a story that involves a young Japanese girl, the ghost of a dead Japanese writer, and a mysterious island. He must solve this mystery while manoeuvring the hazards of middle management, a cruel Japanese samurai, and his own knowledge that if he doesn't solve this mystery soon his heart will transform into a ball of steel, crushing his soul forever. Though he wants to give up his writing, though he wants to let the past rest, within his compulsive writing lies the key to his salvation.
At first appearance this book is a collection of adolescent goings on from the point of view of an intoxicated man living in Japan. It jumps back and forth between points of time and is quite hard to follow. For this reason it took me a long time to recognise any real story.
Then, slowly, I began to get into the book. It began to make sense and become something more spiritual and meaningful. By the end the protagonist no longer felt like a jerk, but more like an understandable human being.
This is a story of growing up and discovering yourself. I only wish it had started from half way through.