The final novel of the greatest Japanese novelist of the twentieth century. It is also—as Michael P. Cronin’s translation, the first into English, shows—one of his best. Written with Tanizaki’s usual narrative brio and sly intimacy, with a focus on the pleasure and drama of everyday life so all-encompassing that when the eruptions of history intrude—in the form of the second Sino-Japanese war and World War II—they ring, as desired, like pistol shots at a party. Even without these cataclysms, we come to see—Tanizaki is an insistently elegiac writer—that the world is always in flux. Tanizaki’s great success is to make us see how it is not only the masters who mourn the passing of such a world, but also the old maids.

The Wall Street Journal

A major discovery: Tanizaki’s wonderful final novel—now available as a paperback

Available July 30, 2019

The Maids

Fiction by Junichiro Tanizaki

Translated by Michael P. Cronin

The Maids concerns all the young women who work—before, during, and after WWII—in the pampered, elegant household of the famous author Chikura Raikichi. Though quite well-to-do, Raikichi has a small house: the family and the maids (usually a few, sharing a little room next to the kitchen) are on top of one another. This proximity allows Raikichi to observe the maids and their daily lives extremely closely, and while the house may be straight from The Makioka Sisters, his interest carries with it more than a dash of the erotic, calling to mind Tanizaki’s raciest books, such as Diary of a Mad Old Man and The Key.

Your Independent Bookstore Barnes & Noble

Paperback (published July 30, 2019)

ISBN
9780811228749
Price US
14.95
Trim Size
5x8"
Page Count
176pp

Clothbound (published April 25, 2017)

ISBN
9780811224925
Price US
22.95
Price CN
30.95
Trim Size
5 x 8
Page Count
224

Junichiro Tanizaki

Japanese writer

The final novel of the greatest Japanese novelist of the twentieth century. It is also—as Michael P. Cronin’s translation, the first into English, shows—one of his best. Written with Tanizaki’s usual narrative brio and sly intimacy, with a focus on the pleasure and drama of everyday life so all-encompassing that when the eruptions of history intrude—in the form of the second Sino-Japanese war and World War II—they ring, as desired, like pistol shots at a party. Even without these cataclysms, we come to see—Tanizaki is an insistently elegiac writer—that the world is always in flux. Tanizaki’s great success is to make us see how it is not only the masters who mourn the passing of such a world, but also the old maids.

The Wall Street Journal

The Maids is altogether lighter, freer, and more playful than The Makioka Sisters—a busily peopled and remarkably sensual group portrait. The short novel teems with life and has a flavor all its own, a joyful, comic, improvisational quality rupturing the elegiac tone announced in its opening pages. Tanizaki’s remarkably fresh and intimate voice is speaking to us across a gulf of years and cultures.

—Edmund Gordon, The Times Literary Supplement

This slender book is reminiscent of the best of Turgenev: A small gem for admirers of Mishima, Oe, and other midcentury modernists.

Kirkus

Skillfully and subtly, Tanizaki brushes in a delicate picture of a gentle world that no longer exists.

San Francisco Chronicle

Tanizaki is a very brilliant novelist.

—Haruki Murakami