There are other signs in this remarkable, utterly compelling Japanese epic. At one point, a flood overwhelms their small town of Osaka. The youngest sister, Taeko, is having tea at the impeccably decorated home where her sewing teacher, Mrs. Tamaki, lives with her son Hiroshi. When the rain first appears beneath the door,
the three were still rather enjoying themselves, shouting at each other in the best of spirits. They all had a good laugh when Hiroshi, reaching to grab the briefcase in which he had brought home his school books, bumped his head on the bobbing radio. But after perhaps a half hour, there came a moment when the three fell silent. Almost immediately, Taeko remembered afterwards, the water was above her waist. As she clutched at a curtain, a picture fell from over her head; the curtain had probably brushed against it. It was a picture Mrs. Tamaki was especially fond of.Junichiro Tanizaki wrestled throughout his career with the idea of a country where tribes of aristocrats live as relics, grasping at the past through gestures, manners, small and intricate private laws. The narrative suspense of The Makioka Sisters is rooted in this single-minded nostalgia, this strict attention to the details of domestic life as the outer world becomes more and more incomprehensible. Pages are devoted to musing about whether Yukiko should "risk" meeting a potential husband when there is a spot above her eye--maybe she should play it safe and go to the doctor about it; maybe the potential husband will interpret it as bad luck. Tanizaki manages to make the struggle over this small, dark spot wildly compelling. I could not sleep until I discovered its fate.
If epic literature is based in the dramatic and forward-moving narrative of a male hero's journey, The Makioka Sisters is a female epic of inaction--trying to figure out what to wear, crying for no reason at the same time every afternoon. With each perilous, pathetic step, the sisters are heroes setting out for the new world. They're like Odysseus, except without the ship and without the sea. --Emily White
This book has often been called the best Japanese novel of the twentieth century.
In this beautiful book the characters have a greater degree of reality than many real people - Tanizaki is a great master of characterisation.
One thing that may seem strange to some readers is the way that world events of the time are understated.
This novel is especially recommended for any one with an interest in Japanese culture. If you are traveling to Japan, it would make great reading on the long flight there. Read morePublished 1 month ago by cobalt
Japanese classic The Makioka Sisters by Junichiro Tanizaki is an epic chronicle of an aristocratic Japanese family from Osaka told through the lives of four sisters. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Genevieve DeGuzman
This, over 500 page story may seem not very eventful, and some may think that nothing really happens, but I think that the way it is written is in perfect consistency with the... Read morePublished 3 months ago by whj
Tanazaki evokes atmosphere so well. An engaging story that holds the reader's interest with some very sympathetic characters, a wonderful book.Published 3 months ago by frankie
I enjoyed this book. It seems to me to be an accurate description of family life in japan at the time.Published 5 months ago by Margaret Newlyn
I had trouble getting interested in the characters in the first couple of chapters. I didn't care if they got married or not. Read morePublished 6 months ago by J. Carpenter
Just like Trollope's "the way we live now" provides a century old preview of the accounting scandals that shake the western financial systems, Tanizaki's evocative novel... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Quinton Fox
Once I got into the world of the Makioka Sisters, I didn't want the book to end. This is a special rather "old fashioned" kind of reading experience, a slow and quiet page... Read morePublished 8 months ago by frances Wells
This is a very well-written book, even though we're reading a translation. The story centers around a Japanese family of four sisters living in the era before the War. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Lynn Pena