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Naomi
     

Naomi

3.5 2
by Jun'ichiro Tanizaki, Anthony H. Chambers (Translator), Anthony Y H. Chambers (Translator)
 

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Na-o-mi. The three syllables of this name, unusual in 1920s Japan, captivate a 28-year-old engineer, who soon becomes infatuated with the girl so named, a teenaged café waitress. Drawn to her Eurasian features and innocent demeanor, Joji is eager to whisk young Naomi away from the seamy underbelly of post—World War I Tokyo and to mold her into his ideal

Overview

Na-o-mi. The three syllables of this name, unusual in 1920s Japan, captivate a 28-year-old engineer, who soon becomes infatuated with the girl so named, a teenaged café waitress. Drawn to her Eurasian features and innocent demeanor, Joji is eager to whisk young Naomi away from the seamy underbelly of post—World War I Tokyo and to mold her into his ideal wife. But when the two come together to indulge their shared passion for Western culture, Joji discovers that Naomi is far from being the naïve girl of his fantasies, and his passion descends into a comically helpless masochism.

A literary masterpiece that helped to establish Junichiro Tanizaki as Japan's greatest novelist, Naomi is both a hilarious story of one man's obsession and torment, and a brilliant evocation of a nation's cultural confusion.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The Westernization of a Japanese bar girl spells trouble for her husband. ``Charm, lucidity, fascination with perverse passion and relentless emotional honesty . . . are all here in subtle force,'' said PW. (Nov.)
Library Journal - Library Journal
Naomi is the first English translation of Tanizaki's first important novel (originally serialized in Japanese in 1924-25). It is a subtle adaptation to a Japanese setting of the basic story in Maugham's Of Human Bondage . Joji, the narrator, finds Naomi, a girl half his age, working in a cafe. He takes her to live with him, tries to groom her (with English and music lessons), indulges her whims, encourages her ``Western'' ways, and eventually marries her. She becomes a torment to him, but he is so obsessed with her that he tolerates even her infidelities as long as she will stay with him. The recurrent theme in Tanizaki's novels of the danger in sexual fascination may here represent a self-criticism of his youthful preoccupation with things Western. L. M. Lewis, Social Science Dept., Eastern Kentucky Univ., Richmond
New York Times Book Review
To read Naomi as anything but a shrewd commentary on Japan's infatuation with the West is to trivialize the author's resourcefulness and Japan's predicament... A handsome addition to the steadily increasing library of Japanese literature in English.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780399512865
Publisher:
Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
08/01/1986
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
7.00(w) x 5.00(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Junichiro Tanizaki was born in Tokyo in 1886 and lived there until the earthquake of 1923, when he moved to the Kyoto-Osaka region, the scene of his novel The Makioka Sisters (1943-48). Among his works are Naomi (1924), Some Prefer Nettles (1928), Quicksand (1930), Arrowroot (1931), A Portrait of Shunkin (1933), The Secret History of the Lord of Musashi (1935), modern versions of The Tale of Genji (1941, 1954, and 1965), Captain Shigemoto's Mother (1949), The Key (1956), and Diary of a Mad Old Man (1961). By 1930 he had gained such renown that an edition of his complete works was published, and he was awarded Japan's Imperial Prize in Literature in 1949. Tanizaki died in 1965.

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Naomi 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago