This post is by Caterina Fake from Caterina.net


If you are an avid follower of all my online doings, you may have seen that I have a relatively new Instagram account, Reading by Night. I also read by day, but it is so named because I am a devotee of The Hour of the Wolf–the wee hours, as they’re sometimes called, the interstice between Two Sleeps. Also reading by night is better! Romantic and mysterious, interruptionless.

I have just read The Makioka Sisters, by Junichiro Tanizaki, written in 1957. An minor undertaking of 600 pages which is a big time commitment. Kindle and many newspapers and blogs tell you how long it takes to read something. I don’t think that’s a great way to decide what to read, I wish such estimates didn’t exist. But you can tell when you hold this book in your hand: it’s going to take a while. I had heard it would be worth it. It is. It was.

The Makioka Sisters is a masterpiece of post war Japanese literature. A perfect portrayal of the pretension, snobbery and sufferings of a declining aristocratic family from Osaka, four sisters, trying to get one of them married, and trying to keep the youngest, most modern one from destroying what little remains of the respectability the family once enjoyed.

As WWII encroaches inexorably and illness and scandal descend, you feel their losses: the grace and beauty of the firefly hunting parties, the repose and solitude of the lost country estates, occasions for elaborate kimonos, (Read more…)