Cover Image: Longing and Other Stories

Longing and Other Stories

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I really like reading about Japanese culture and people, and that's the reason why I requested this book.

First of all, the language is beautiful. But it didn't work for me mainly because of the writing style. I couldn't connect with the writing style and the characters. The stories are too melancholic, descriptive and incoherent. 

Thank you for the ARC and sorry I didn't enjoy the read.
Was this review helpful?
I like this format short stories it was interesting howas interesting how the characters in each of these short stories had to overcome  THI NG. And how it dealt with the issues in Japan when modern society was conflicting with the old ways of doing things. And how one story was about marriage and how the mother in law had difficulties accepting the new wife but it turned but it turned out there was positive to negative things into that story as well. Another one was talking about death and how you are imagining things which were there at 1 point and how you cope with that is another whole issue. This person was just walking along and kept talking to people who were not really there not really there but you could see how he really missed that life but it turned out  Okay.
Was this review helpful?
Longing and Other Stories was my first Tanizaki read and I really enjoyed the three story collection. Each story is unique, Longing describes dreamy search along a dark road, Sorrows of a Heretic details the turmoil a young man faces who feels he is above his status in life and The Story of an Unhappy Mother is about the mother son dynamic. Each story is well written and descriptive. Semi-autobiographical, the author weaves a general theme throughout the three stories of a complicated relationship between a mother and son. I loved these stories and will definitely be seeking out more books by this author.
Was this review helpful?
A beautiful book of Eclectic ,Poignant, Hauntingly beautiful Literature .#FB, #Instagram, #Goodreads, #NetGalley, #<img src="" width="80" height="80" alt="100 Book Reviews" title="100 Book Reviews"/>, #<img src="" width="80" height="80" alt="Reviews Published" title="Reviews Published"/>, #<img src="" width="80" height="80" alt="Professional Reader" title="Professional Reader"/>,
Was this review helpful?
These three stories all pertain to the (often broken) dynamic between a mother and son. The protagonists are always conflicted beings, often selfish or doubtful or in other ways unlikeable. Yet we never really hate them- they are too lifelike for that, too “real”, too reminiscent of flawed people we know.

I liked the second and third the most. They both felt like simple morality tales, while the first was more of a wordy dream-like experience. All three were certainly compelling, although I often found it hard to fully connect with the protagonists.

The thoughts and worries had by these people are timeless, reflections on family.
It’s a very brief yet enthralling collection, though it felt a little dry at times.

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
I love Tanizaki and Japanese literature in general, it has a lyrical and poetical trait that is very specific to it.

Collections of stories is not my favourite genre, but I'll gladly make an exception for this one, because it is an outstanding example!

Three stories that revolve around family relationships, in particular mother-son ones, seen from different points of view and narrated in different styles. My favourite was the first one, it will remain with me for quite some time.

A fascinating read!

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?

The quality of the writing is striking, as one would expect from Tanizaki, but despite that, none of the stories truly touched me.

What binds this stories together is the subject: the relationship between son and mother/parental figure. But also the exploration of changes in traditions and traditional values in Japanese society, and in particular in familial dynamics. According to the forward, this stories also have a autobiographical component, which may interest those who are familiar(have an interest) with the author's background. But as far as I am concerned, it was in now way evident(apart from the second story because the main character shared his name with the author), or made any difference to how I read/enjoyed the stories.

I found "Longing" to be a very sorrowful story. Written in a more simplistic language, making us aware of the age of the narrator, it has a dream like quality to it and even getting a bit phantasmagorical in its descriptions. While I did appreciate it at an intellectual level, emotionally I really struggled with it. It was to some extent confusing, I just could pinpoint if it was a realistic depiction of a child's experience or just a fantastical tale.

"Sorrows of a Heretic" and "The Story of an Unhappy Mother" were to me the two sides of the same coin. The protagonist of "Sorrows of a Heretic" reminded me of a regular teen from the Western World. While many of his actions and feeling may be familiar to a Western reader, it will surly seem rather out of character to someone familiar with Japanese families of that period. On the other hand, the protagonist of "The Story of an Unhappy Mother" depicts what one would expect of a child of an Edo family. Yet for a Western reader it would be rather hard to actually understand, at a deeper level, such strong feelings and extreme behaviour. This last story has been my favourite one because it really took me out of my comfort zone and once again highlighted the striking difference between west and east.
Was this review helpful?
Anything about Japan or written by a Japanese author will be one for me. I was born in Japan and I love Japanese culture so I requested the ARC for the book and was so happy that I got the ARC.

The book consists of three stories--"Longing" talks about a young precarious boy in a fantastic journey, " Sorrows of a Heretic" is about a student living in poverty and fighting with his family and "The Story of an Unhappy Mother:" talks about the relationship between the newlyweds and mother. Each of these stories are told in a beautiful way with depicting the descriptions of Japanese culture and traditions as well as descriptions of countrysides, emotions and feelings said in the book. 

In a nutshell, I will rate each of the stories

"Longing" - 3/5 stars - I really like this young boy in the story and do like the setting. But it was a bit boring to me. 

"Sorrows of a Heretic" - 3/5 stars-- the descriptions and the lifestyle of a poor Japanese family was well described in this book. But again it was partially boring.

"The story of an Unhappy Mother"- 4.5/5 -- now that got me interested in the story. This talks about the newly wed brother, who makes a decision that will affect his own mother as well as his own life. The raw emotions, feelings and sorrow that both the mother as well as the son is facing is too real and overall, I enjoyed reading this sad short story.

Overall, I enjoyed reading this set of short stories set during the 1900'. Worth four stars!

Many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC. The review is based on my honest opinion only.
Was this review helpful?
I spent a day reading this and I enjoyed it immensely. The writing is beautiful and poetic. The only story I didn't like was the middle one and I wouldn't even say dislike. It could be boring at times but I felt compelled to continue.  All the stories dealt with death and family dynamics in a way that's new to me. The author does not care about holding back blows in some cases and dances around in others. He weaves a great story. The first and last story felt like fables. I would buy this collection just for them honestly. I'll be picking up more from Tanizaki. I've never heard of him before and this has me interested.
Was this review helpful?
This is 3 beautiful stories. They are older stories (from the 1910s), newly translated, by a fairly famous Japanese author. I actually hadn't heard of him, but I was taken in by the lovely cover art. I also generally like Japanese literature, so I thought that I would give this a try.

The stories are sort of haunting. They convey a lot of emotion from the narrators. There is also a feeling of futility involved in these stories. All three are about family life and look at the relationship between the members. I really liked all of them.
Was this review helpful?
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:
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?