A work of fiction that sets itself such stringent boundaries and problems of internal logic (if the inhabitants of the island have their concepts of items entirely wiped from their sensibilities, how are they able to name them? How does a milliner know what he once was when hats have disappeared?) must eventually reach a reckoning. Ogawa brings hers about in a deeply unsettling fashion, plunging her imaginary world into entropy and post-apocalyptic decay. There are obviously parallels between the society she describes and those similarly intolerant of collective memory and will, but her achievement is to weave in a far more personal sense of the destruction and distortion of the psyche.