In one, an aging singer serenades his wife before their marriage ends and their lives take a different direction. In another, a friend has been roped in to save his friend's marriage in an unconventional set-up. In the third story, an older musician couple interact with a young guitarist. As a result, the hollowness of this couple's equation with their own son comes through. The fourth one is a piece between a popular singer and a jazz musician. They meet in a swanky clinic where they have both had plastic surgery done. Although they are both bandaged and can't see each other, they connect through music, play each other's records, hum their favourite songs. This connection takes its time, though. In the final story, a Russian cellist finds and loses his groove through his interaction with an American virtuoso.
Each story is so delicately embroidered, so beautifully written - that they feel very touch and go...like gossamer, like the sweet smell of vanilla in milk, like the music that vanishes from the car when you go through a tunnel.
As a reality and a metaphor, Ishiguro explores the question of what remains when the music stops. And where would you be if the song played on.