The Siren’s Lament
‘One of the greatest Japanese writers… his work explores the destructive power of erotic obsessions’ Guardian
‘Outstanding… rich and mysterious’ New York Times Book Review
A new selection and translation of short stories by a hugely prominent classic Japanese writer, filled with eroticism and fantasy
The rich and mysterious short stories of Jun’ichiro Tanizaki pulse with a restless eroticism. Visiting a kingdom ruled by a weak-willed duke, the sage Confucius finds himself drawn into a battle of wills. A naive servant boy is compelled down a path of vice and sin by his master’s daughter. A young prince finds himself enraptured by his newest possession: a beguiling, enchanting mermaid.
These three stories, two of which are here translated for the first time by Bryan Karetnyk, capture the essence of Tanizaki’s shorter writings. Drawing on tales from both Japanese and Chinese mythology, combined with poignant psychological realism, Tanizaki reveals and revels in the paper-thin line between the sublime and the depraved.
'One of the greatest Japanese writers... his work explores the destructive power of erotic obsessions' - Guardian 'Junichiro Tanizaki may well prove to be the outstanding Japanese novelist of this century... It is through... detail plain in language, but poetic in conception, that the blood of Tanizaki's rich and mysterious art pulses' - Edmund White 'Japan's great modern novelist. Tanizaki created a lifelong series of ingenious variations on a dominant theme: the power of love to energize and destroy' - Chicago Tribune 'Tanizaki writes with an unabashed sensuality' - John Updike 'Tanizaki - like no other writer - mined the realm of forbidden fantasies. From subtle eroticism to full-blown pathology, he made poetry of pleasure and torment'' - Japan Times
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