The Maids

By | November 28, 2017
The Maids Author Junichiro Tanizaki
ISBN-10 0811224929
ISBN-13 9780811224925
Year 2017-04-25
Pages 224
Language English
Publisher New Directions
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A major discovery Tanizakis wonderful final novelnow in EnglishThe Maids is a jewel an astonishing complement to The Makioka Sisters set in the same house in the same turbulent decades but among the servants as much as the masters The Maids concerns all the young women who workbefore during and after WWIIin the pampered elegant household of the famous author Chikura Raikichi his wife Sanko and her younger sister Though quite well to do Raikichi has a small house the family and the maids usually a few sharing a little room next to the kitchen are on top of one another This proximity helps to explain Raikichis extremely close observation of the maids and their daily lives although his interest carries with it more than a dash of the erotic calling to mind Tanizakis raciest books such as Diary of a Mad Old Man and The Key In the sensualist semi innocent sexist patrician Raikichi Tanizaki offers a richly ironic self portrait but he presents as well a moving nuanced chronicle of change and loss centuries old values and manners are vanishing and herein the evanescent beauty of the small gestures and intricacies of private lifewe find a whole world to be mourned And yet there is such vivacity and such beauty of writing that Tanizaki creates an intensely compelling epic in a kitchen full of lively girls Ethereally suggestive sensational yet serious witty but psychologically complex The Maids is in many ways The Makioka Sisters revisited in a lighter more comic mode

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