Longing and Other Stories (Hardcover)
Jun'ichirō Tanizaki is one of the most prominent Japanese writers of the twentieth century, renowned for his investigations of family dynamics, eroticism, and cultural identity. Most acclaimed for his postwar novels such as The Makioka Sisters and The Key, Tanizaki made his literary debut in 1910. This book presents three powerful stories of family life from the first decade of Tanizaki's career that foreshadow the themes the great writer would go on to explore. "Longing" recounts the fantastic journey of a precocious young boy through an eerie nighttime landscape. Replete with striking natural images and uncanny human encounters, it ends with a striking revelation. "Sorrows of a Heretic" follows a university student and aspiring novelist who lives in degrading poverty in a Tokyo tenement. Ambitious and tormented, the young man rebels against his family against a backdrop of sickness and death. "The Story of an Unhappy Mother" describes a vivacious but self-centered woman's drastic transformation after a freak accident involving her son and daughter-in-law. Written in different genres, the three stories are united by a focus on mothers and sons and a concern for Japan's traditional culture in the face of Westernization. The longtime Tanizaki translators Anthony H. Chambers and Paul McCarthy masterfully bring these important works to an Anglophone audience.
About the Author
Jun'ichirō Tanizaki (1886-1965) was born in Tokyo and lived there until the 1923 earthquake, when he moved to western Japan. His many classic novels include Quicksand, Some Prefer Nettles, and Diary of a Mad Old Man. At the time of his death, he was on the shortlist for the Nobel Prize in Literature. Anthony H. Chambers is professor emeritus of Japanese at Arizona State University. He has translated many works by Tanizaki, including Naomi (1985), and he is also the translator of Ueda Akinari's Tales of Moonlight and Rain (Columbia, 2006). Paul McCarthy is professor emeritus of contemporary culture at Surugadai University. His many translations of Tanizaki include A Cat, A Man, and Two Women (2015), and he has also translated other Japanese writers including Atsushi Nakajima and Mieko Kanai. Chambers and McCarthy's recent cotranslations of Tanizaki's short fiction include Red Roofs and Other Stories (2016) and The Gourmet Club (2017).