The story centres around a guy named Nakagi, also known as Sensei, who is a painter and who has been staying at a mountain cabin in order to cultivate his art. He was once a committed murderer. The man spends every morning running up the mountain pass and back to his cabin and does nothing else particularly important. One day a woman named Natsue Kosugi comes to the cabin with the intention of reserving a painting. He tells her that he does not want to make a promise that he might break and to buy it after he has finished it. The two of them converse for a while and before she leaves, the woman says she will return another day. One evening when he goes into the dining room he comes across another young woman, whose name is Akiko. She aspires to be his student, whether he likes it or not. After that he sees her every day and spends some time with her. These two women, one older than him and the other far younger, are going to disrupt his seclusion.
So far, I have read just over fifty pages and nothing very much has happened. Hopefully, as I read on, the story will become more engaging. At the moment, I am finding “Winter Sleep” by Kenzo Kitakata slightly arid. Someone compared the author partly to Spillane and partly to Dostoevsky, but always ‘hard-boiled’, according to the blurb on the back of the book. We shall see.