Going to conserve some energy in posting about Junichiro Tanizaki’s Some Prefer Nettles

294571Yes, because it is the end of the week I am just going to post an extract from an email that I just wrote someone:

P.S. Just read a book that I’m sure you’d enjoy: Some Prefer Nettles by Junichiro Tanizaki. It’s about a marriage (in very traditional early 20th century Japan) that’s all-but-dissolved. The wife and husband are both (with each other’s knowledge and permission) sleeping with other people. All they need to do is figure out the proper way to go about divorcing each other and breaking the news to their families. It’s a very tranquil and subtly sad book. Much of it is given over to the husband’s growing friendship with his father-in-law. They go to several puppet shows together and, slowly, the very modern and western husband starts to wonder about the traditional things he’s lost…

The Seidensticker translation that I’ve linked to is very good. He’s an amazing translator. I read his Tale of Genjii after being thrown out of the book by several other translations.