Ishiguro's first novel hints as his later success with Remains of the Day, which I read just before this novel. The story centers around a woman and her youngest daughter, reunited briefly after an older daughter commits suicide. But the book really centers around the mother and her friendship with Sachiko, a friend both compelling and repulsive at the same time.Ishiguro does not beat you over the head with this thinking, but he quietly leads you to question the everyday. Much of the mother's life is unknown, although we know she leaves Nagasaki to live in London with a new husband which produces a new child. In fact, her life in retrospect turns out to be similar to what concerns her about Sachiko.Questions of memory, purpose, and relationships are the basis for the novel.