Wednesday 15 October 2008
A disappointing show
I picked Junichiro Tanizaki's early novel Naomi for several reasons: 1) I felt bad that I was neglecting the Japanese lit group I started on the Indigo online communities; 2) I felt equally bad that I hadn't yet posted on the Japanese Lit challenge blog I'm a member of; 3) I needed something distinctly un-English to read - I've been having too much of a Brit-fest this blog year; 4) Junichiro Tanizaki has, in the past, brought me nothing but joy.
I'll cut to the chase: I hated this book. I know!! How is this possible? Quicksand, The Gourmet Club, and The Secret History of the Lord of Musashi are among my favourite books of all time!
The problem comes down to this: I found the main characters, Naomi and Joji (the narrator), such pathetic, unlikeable, and unsympathetic figures that I found reading about them about as pleasurable as listening to someone running their fingernails down a chalkboard while I'm being forced to eat overcooked Brussels sprouts (for eternity). (That might be the strangest mixed simile I've ever come up with. It's kinda hot.)
I should say more about Naomi but I have no energy for an eviscerating book review today. I'm just so disappointed. I have no energy to write something venomous to try to cheer myself up because I wasn't ever supposed to have to think about scathing language in relationship to Tanizaki! Le sigh.
PS-8 pm: I just wrote a better review of this book for the Japanese Literature challenge blog. Check it out here.