"An artist abandons city life to wander into the mountains to meditate, but when he decides to stay at a near-deserted inn he soon finds himself drawn to the daughter of the innkeeper. This strange and beautiful woman is rumoured to have abandoned her husband and fallen in love with a priest at a nearby temple. The artist becomes entranced by her tragic aura. She reminds him of Millais's portrait of Ophelia drowning and he wants to paint her. Yet, troubled by a certain quality in her expression, he struggles to complete the portrait until he is finally able to penetrate the enigma of her life."
Interspersed with philosophies of both East and West, Soseki's writing skillfully blends two very different cultures in this unique representation of an artist struggling with his craft and his environment.