Fuyuko, the protagonist of All the Lovers in the Nightis a 34-year-old woman who works from home as a proofreader. She devotes herself entirely to her work, searching for the smallest mistakes, and her work is supervised by the outgoing editor, Hijiri, the complete opposite of the withdrawn Fuyuko, who (when not working) is constantly under the influence of alcohol. If it weren’t for Hijiri, she probably wouldn’t keep in touch with anyone at all. Everything changes when Fuyuko accidentally meets a man who at subsequent meetings tells her about the beauty of light, classical music, and sees something in her that no one else has ever noticed.
If you’ve read other Kawakami’s books (e.g. Heaven or Breasts and Eggs), you will find some common elements here – in All the Lovers in the Night you will find similar themes: single mothers, financial dependence, success and social exclusion. On the other hand, it is a totally different kind of a book – a fresh romance with a protagonist who only learns what love is as a mature woman, and the reader follows her story with curiosity, impatiently waiting for its climax. As it happens often in Kawakami’s books – there is no telling how the plot will be resolved until the last page.