I don’t remember the first time I read this novel, though reading many times, which comes to be one of the impressive novels for me. While the novel, awarded in Japan, is more famous than any other works of her, but in fact, it’s a pity that it has not been read by a lot of readers on account for dealing with lesbian issues.
Different from Rieko Matsura, a major lure of the novels of Kaho Nakayama is love. And most of them are literally the passionate stories in which people devote themselves to love. Besides, they are enforced by her own experiences with a certain description, so when reading her novel, I always feel this is a love story indeed. She firmly shows us our ugly sentiment in a more practical way than Coleridge.
But after that, for instance, after Kuch and Rui grappling, inserts a moment of complete hush — the world in which there is only an aftereffect or afterimage as if nothing but only such a beautiful afterglow was lingered from the beginning. And then, following words unfold there.
“I’ve never wished Rui was a man or I was not a woman. I accepted and loved her sex as if accepting my own. It is like a ribbon of the hat, which has no meaning. I think it foolish to pretend not to notice an attraction of the hat persisting in a colour of the ribbon. For it is quite difficult to find the hat suitable to our own head. [...] So if you find your favourite hat, you’d better buy it. In short, what counts is with whom you would contact, when you were lost beyond this universe.”
Love she writes is described from a very different view comparing to my standpoint. That a woman loves a man, a man loves a woman, is not exactly true. A woman and a man love “someone other” than themselves. Sex is not the point. Whom we love is “others”, not “a man ”or ”a woman”. This statement is strongly appealed in the novel. The passage above is put in the beginning, which might be a message which prompts us to read it in the context of our own relation to someone we love.