Cover Image: Longing and Other Stories

Longing and Other Stories

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Tanizaki paints detailed scenes and dreamscapes set in the Tokyo area with mother-son relationship family drama and symbolism throughout. Stories are haunting and poignant pieces that will leave you reflecting on their many levels of meaning and interpretation.
Was this review helpful?
having heard so much about Tanizaki from bookstagram, I was skeptical about being disappointed because hype is something I don't deal with very well as a reader. Well, safe to say I am enthralled by his style of writing and only want to explore more of his short stories and novellas from now on. Thank you for providing this ARC in exchange of an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
3.5. There are three longish short stories compiled in the collection, “Longing” (1918), “Sorrows of a Heretic” (1916-17) and “The Story of an Unhappy Mother” (1921). All three stories focus on family, particularly that of mothers and sons. The more I read the more I think of Japanese literature as being the brother/sister of Russian literature. There’s something about the dejected, disillusioned youths in both that remind me of one another. The protagonist of the second story here is a university student who fails to go to classes and instead freeloads off his friends and disobeys and disappoints his parents; there’s something of Raskolnikov in him. The first story on the other hand is Kafkaesque, a young boy walking through a strange nightmarish landscape at night, looking for his mother. The ending of this story failed completely for me and ruined what was otherwise going to be a strong and unnerving piece. The last story took some time for it to find momentum but ultimately was compelling enough. The second story was the strongest for me and earnt itself a solid 4 stars and the collection as a whole would have followed suit, had the ending of the first story not been so damaging. 

As far as the prose goes, Tanizaki reminded me of the clear and beautiful prose found in other Japanese writers I have read and admired: Mishima, Kawabata, etc. Japanese prose has that distinctive ‘telling’ type of writing which comes across as very technical and economical, because when done poorly, would ignore every writing course’s mantra: Show Don’t Tell. The telling sort of prose has made itself into contemporary Japanese literature and is the sort of prose that Murakami has made for himself as a style. I’ve never found Murakami’s style particularly original in that respect, only his ideas. That being said, it’s clear that Tanizaki is a skilled writer and I’m now doubly eager to read some of his novels, the household names such as <i>The Makioka Sisters</i> and <i>Some Prefer Nettles</i>. This collection was a brief but strong starting point for his body of work and anyone familiar with Tanizaki would equally relish these stories of his. 

Goodreads Review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/4340470528
Was this review helpful?
This version of Longing and Other Stories was very kind to readers like me who haven't taken a lit class in years. It flowed very well and was easy to read even when the characters were being difficult people. My thanks to the publisher and Netgalley.
Was this review helpful?
Having read other works by Junichiro Tanizaki, I was happy to have an opportunity to read this collection of three short stories that was pulled from his early work.  Loosely connected by a focus on the mother / son relationship each of these stories showcase Tanizaki's gift of writing about family dynamics.  The highlight for me was the first story entitled "Longing", as the slow pace invoked a contemplative and almost meditative feeling.  Anthony H. Chambers and Paul McCarthy give us a superb translation. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Columbia University Press for the opportunity to provide an honest review in exchange for an opportunity to read the advanced review copy of this book.
Was this review helpful?
i generally really love asian inspired literature and japanese culture but for some reason this one really didn't click with me. not sure if it was the translation or the prose but it felt really disjointed
Was this review helpful?
"Longing and Other Stories" written by Jun'ichiro Tanizaki and translated by Anthony H. Chambers & Paul McCarthy is a collection of three stories that offer a detailed view into Tokyo family life in the early 1900's. Some aspects of these stories are certainly universal and thus easy to grasp. The inquisitive reader will become curious about the common details in each story and wonder about how autobiographical these works are. Fortunately, the translators  address this and other points in an informative afterword.

I have actually read the first story "Longing" a long time ago in the original Japanese. This collection gave me my first chance to read it in English. The translators did a good job of retaining the feeling of the original text. This story has strongly echoed in my mind for decades.

The second and third stories describe family life in Tokyo between 1910 and 1920 in such detail that really make the pieces come alive. Not all actions and morals by all characters are comfortable, which really adds to the reality.

All three stories refer to specific neighborhoods in Tokyo. It was fun to imagine how much these areas must have changed in the past hundred years.

This is a must-read for people interested in Japanese culture and literature.

I thank the translators and publisher for kindly providing an electronic review copy of this book.
Was this review helpful?
I would like ro thank Netgalley and the publishers for giving me this book in exchange for an honest review
This is arguably my first foray into Japanese literature that isn't a manga and i really liked it. I tend to not like short stories in general but i liked this one very much. The author's writing feels like poetry and the environments he creates are very vivid and dreamlike. I would love to see an adaptation of one of these stories in film as i feel it would work amazingly well. I would like to also give praise to the translators as this was originally written in Japanese. I understand it can be quite hard to translate books or songs into different languages as sometimes it could result in the meaning of the stories losing its importance due to the translations but i think the translators did a great job retaining not only the author's poetic style but also providing information on the author's life and the times he grew up in which enabled me to appreciate the some of the stories a bit more. My favourite was Longing and my least favourite was confessions of a heretic
Was this review helpful?
Three stories about mother and son relationships by an author I've long been meaning to try. They are said to be based on the authors own life, but they clearly aren't strictly autobiographical because the details from each story don't match up.

The first story, (my favourite), is about a young boy longing for his mother. The writing in this one was beautiful and it has an achingly sad, dreamlike quality to it. 4*

In the next one, we have a student who is a thoroughly disposable character at odds with his family, who he holds in disdain. This was the longest, which was unfortunate because it was the one I liked the least. I just couldn't relate at all to the character.

The third one was interesting, this time it was the mother who is rather self centred, and problems arise in the family when the eldest son brings home a bride.

Overall, I did enjoy them, though it took me some time to get to the last story after reading that second one. I will keep an eye out for more of his novels, mainly on the strength of the first one.

*Many thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for a review copy in exchange for an honest opinion*
Was this review helpful?
I was a little afraid to start this novel as I thought it might be dense and hard to read. I was very wrong. The three stories can be read fluidly and they are all extremely entertaining in their own way. I enjoyed all of them. Each one is unique and incredibly well crafted, it makes you think about the talent and effort the author put into them. It is hard to put into words how I felt while reading this book, but one thing I can say for sure is that I couldn't stop reading. I was submerged in the three scenarios intensely and I was surprised every time by how real the construction of the characters felt. The situations are specific and yet they feel general enough to be believable which helps to feel each moment more intensely until the end. They all have surprising endings and I had to take some time between each to recover from the emotions it left. I believe choosing those stories and putting them together made a lot of sense because even if they are different they also have similar themes and the whole thing left me thinking after finishing the book.
Was this review helpful?
"And so his heart was a prisoner to his parents; but the more aware he was of the depth of their bonds, the more he cursed and feared them" (58).

This collection of three stories from Jun'ichirõ Tanizaki is somewhat hard to review or rate. Translations are always tricky. Even more so when the source material isn't contemporary (though really, not even one hundred years have passed since the stories' original publication). There were times when I found the prose a little stiff, but this collection is very accessible.

"When he came face to face with another person, the wonders that swirled deep inside his head lost their radiance, leaving only the superficial, frivolous, dishonest, and lewd aspects to flourish" (77).

I found the second story to be the strongest. Tanizaki isn't afraid to explore the darker aspects of his characters—and maybe, by extension, himself—but it never gets deep enough to alienate readers. A part of me wished the rest of the included stories had been more like this one, but the other understands the intent. I don't know if this would count as a "spoiler," but these three stories were chosen deliberately. There's a reason why they're together. I respect that decision.

As I read, I wished there could have been more footnotes. The first has one, and the second has a few more, if I'm remembering correctly. I know not everyone likes footnotes, but I definitely do. However, there is a great Translators' Afterword after the stories. I really enjoyed reading through it and, in a way, wish that had taken up more of the book.

Overall, I found this to be a good introduction to Tanizaki. I'm very grateful to have been able to read it.

**Thank you to NetGalley for access to this title.**
Was this review helpful?
More of a 3.5 for me**

First and foremost, let me say that I generally have a hard time with short stories just because I personally need more time with the characters/stories to feel anything other than "meh" for them, so the fact that this is getting higher than a 2 stars is promising for those who do enjoy short stories, as well as for me in terms of this author and their writing. 

I think if you have any interest at all in Japanese culture and how it attempts to be enmeshed with Western culture, you will enjoy this book, especially, obviously, if you enjoy short stories. The writing is very cerebral and poetic, I would say, and the author takes care to not spell things out for you too much, which is an issue I commonly find with short stories. Definitely recommend and look forward to picking out a copy for myself.
Was this review helpful?
Longing and other stories

Author jun'ichirō Tanizaki

Thank you, NetGalley for this complimentary book in exchange for an honest review.

I had always wanted to read Tanizaki's 
"The Makioka Sisters" but Longing and other stories seemed to be much shorter so picked up this one instead.
It's a dreamlike collection of three short stories which concentrates on the relationship between the mother and the son. 
Each story has a heartbreak though 
I loved the wonderfully descriptive vocabulary adopted here.

It was a real pleasure to engross oneself in Japanese literature.
I Will surely read his other works also. 

⭐⭐⭐⭐/5
Was this review helpful?
What i do really love about this book is that there is kind of poetry in the way japanese authors write, even when you dont like a character you like the way the action is depicted... yes there is a kind of longing, of missing a person or a feeling in each of this stories. 

The stories connect in a way or the other with the supernatural, sometimes obvious and in others is the twist that give it in the end... but always the feeling that they give to the reader, is like the waves gently touching the beach, this is the kind of book that if i get too much in details of each story, would give spoilers and that is the one thing I dont want to do, because the surprise in the ride is what makes it so worth. 

There's a diference in the way japanese people think that makes their stories and characters so much diferent the ones in the occident and i love that difference since i was young, i remenber reading books from Yasunari Kawabata or Kenzaburo Oe and that was my first deep dive in japanese literature i wish for our young ones to have the same chance that i did, and congratulations for Paul McCarthy because mantaining the poetry sometimes can be lost on the translation, and i did feel that he love the japanese culture same way i do, haha and that really helps connection with the way the stories make way to us. 

i recieved a free ARC copy of this book from NetGalley and i am leaving this review voluntarely. 

for fellow reviewers of netgalley, keep in mind that this ARC is converted from pdf, has lots of flaws, and mishapes in the text, but the 3 stories even the second one that the main character is ...  well lets just say that i dont like him and i think even is mom has problems in loving him... the writting is gorgeous <3
Was this review helpful?
I really, really, really (!) wanted to enjoy this one but try as I might, I could not get into it.  I kept losing concentration, would re-read the same pages more than once without realising or abandon and move on to the next story.  

The only other Tanizaki I have read is A Man, Two Women and a Cat which was a very pleasant read!  Longing and Other Stories is in quite a different style and, having read the translators’ notes, I see it was written much earlier.  It certainly felt self-indulgent and, I’m afraid, boring! Let’s put it down to youth!  (I have The Makioka Sisters in my tbr and now feel a little nervous of it!)

I hope to come back to Longing and Other Stories at some point.  Perhaps after reading more of Tanizaki’s work it will make more sense.
Was this review helpful?
I majored in Japanese Literature in college so I was eager to read this translation of Tanizaki's work. I have read The Makioka Sisters and The Key and a few other translations many years ago. Reading these three stories rekindled my admiration for Tanizaki whose characters are presented in such great detail that we can feel them living amongst us. These are gritty stories and I enjoyed the settings and time period. The exploration of character is so intricate and descriptive that they could almost work as a textbook for an author trying to work on character depiction.
This work is also a good juxtaposition between the modern women writers of Japan that are currently in the limelight. I'd urge anyone interested in Japanese literature to give Tanizaki a try.
Was this review helpful?
I went into this blind unsure of what to expect, but was greatly surprised. Three short stories about the relationships between mothers and sons, all gripping and beautiful. The writing is like poetry. Beautiful descriptive and vivid. 

This is a unique read. Nothing I’ve ever come across before. It’s subtly moving and sad. 

People who enjoy “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry as children would like this collection. 

Thank you to Netgally and Columbia University Press for this arc in exchange for my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
"When I go out into the world, will I have to endure the same suffering and distress as my parents?"

Three short stories about mothers and sons were written by Junichiro Tanizaki, a Japanese author of the 20th century. 

Longing translated by Paul McCarthy
My favorite story is about a son looking for his lost mother on road in the moonlight. So a wonderful and touching story. It was like a poem, enjoyable read, very beautifully written and translated.

Sorrows of a Heretic translated by Anthony H. Chambers
hōzaburō is a university student living with his family. This was like his biography.

The Story of an Unhappy Mother is translated by Paul McCarthy
This was a story of an unhappy mother, who changed into a different person after her elder son’s marriage. The story is told by the younger son. He believed his brother killed his mother, and that it was his mother who killed his brother.

Many thank Columbia University Press and NetGalley for an ARC, I have given my honest review.
Pub Date 04 Jan 2022
Was this review helpful?
A wonderful new translation that is readable and yet maintains the mystical tone of Tanizaki's writing.
Was this review helpful?
This collection of three lenghty short stories focuses on the relationship between sons and their mothers: The first introduces us to a child longing for his mother, the second portrays a selfish teenager with a terminally ill sister and a desperate mother, and the third is the story of a newlywed, thus adding the role of mother-in-law to his mother's repertoire. I really enjoyed the subtle way in which the themes are explored and Tanizaki's elegant, slow-moving language that gives weight to decisive details.

The afterword explains how the stories correspond with the time they were written and set in, how Confucian thinking informs the narrators, and how some events relate to the author's own life - I won't spoil anything here, because going in blind will definitely alter the reading experience and allow you to shift perceptions after gathering more information.

A wonderful collection - I need to read more Tanizaki.
Was this review helpful?