A plastic bag with a notebook, watch, and lunchbox arrives washed up on the shore of the Pacific Northwest Island and Ruth, a struggling novelist, discovers and begins to read the contents. Ruth becomes deeply involved in the world of the diarist, Nao, a Japanese girl who moved back to Japan from California after her father's business failed. Nao tries to be upbeat and many times shows her age, but as Ruth soon finds out, her world is much darker than it first appears. Ruth becomes obsessed with Nao, trying to find more evidence of this girl and whether or not she may have died in the 2011 earthquake. Ruth's world is full of interesting island Pacific Northwest characters, including her ecologist husband. Nao's great-grandmother, a Buddhist nun, helps Nao deal with bully at school as well as beginning to tell her enough to make sense of her great-uncle's death as a kamikaze pilot during World War II. At times both worlds tends towards the darker side of things, between Ruth's past as well as Nao's bullying at school. This darkness is not the shock and awe kind but much quieter and realistic, the understatement creating an even greater sense of urgency. As a fellow Proust-2013er might want to know, the diary Nao writes is covered in the boards of an old edition of À la recherche du temps perdu and there is much discussion of time, memory, and Western philosophy. Nao's uncle, the kamikaze pilot, is revealed to have been a student of philosophy and Nao's father spends his days folding paper insects out of pages of the multivolume set of Western philosophers. The more philosophical side occasionally verges on the more mystical interpretations of quantum mechanics as well as delving into Buddhist thought (as Nao's indomitable great-grandmother is a Buddhist nun after all), offering an interesting thread throughout the story told by Ruth and Nao. As Nao's father attempts suicide and Nao herself considers it, Ruth's mission to find the owner of the diary becomes more desperate. The tone of both characters is captured well in the alternating narration and not only is there thoughtful reflection, there is also a fair dose of suspense that keeps the reader intrigued with Ruth and Nao and wanting to know how it all turns out.