Chapters 23–24 Summary

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Chapter 23

Joji and Hamada go out for a walk and then have lunch together, both of them lamenting how badly deceived they were by Naomi. Hamada tells Joji that Naomi was seeing other men besides Kumagai, including Seki and Nakamura. Joji then admits to Hamada that Naomi’s birth family runs a brothel in the slums. They both speculate that perhaps bloodlines really do play a part in determining a person’s character, despite Joji’s attempts to elevate Naomi above her station in life.

However, despite the fact that both men are hurt by Naomi’s actions, they admit that it isn’t the worst thing in the world to be tricked by a beautiful woman at least once in life. They then part ways, with Joji speculating that he may need to move if he wants to avoid running into Naomi around town.

Chapter 24

Shortly after Joji’s separation from Naomi, Joji’s mother passes away. Joji attends the ceremonies in the countryside, and he comes to believe that his mother dying is a form of divine punishment for allowing himself to be so corrupted by Naomi’s influence. He begins to think about quitting his job in the city and retiring to the countryside, although his relatives encourage him to think it through a bit more before deciding anything so hastily.

After returning home, Joji attempts to settle back into city life, but he has lost the confidence of his bosses and coworkers due to his repeated absences and inability to concentrate on work. He also finds himself avoiding numerous parts of the city for fear of running into Naomi. He ultimately resolves to quit his job and move to a house that reminds him less of his old life.

One day, while Joji is sitting at home, Naomi uses her key to enter the house and greets Joji as though nothing is wrong. He coldly tells her to gather whatever things she came for and leave, but she attempts to seduce him by stripping off her clothes. When Joji remains stoically unaffected, she reluctantly leaves but tells him that she may need to come back for more of her clothes. Joji forces her to leave her house key behind and tells her to send someone else to collect her things rather than showing up again in person. However, only a few days later, he hears a key in the lock once again.

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Chapters 21–22 Summary

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Chapters 25–26 Summary