The Key by Junichiro Tanizaki

The Key (Vintage Blue)
I’m reading thin books in between Harry Potters just to get away a bit from the wizard boy, as much as I like him. So I read this very thin 160 pages book that I got a while ago from some book fair. And what a weird intermezzo that was.

The Key is a story about a 55 years old Japanese husband who’s madly in love (and lust) with his 11-years-younger wife. They each keep a diary, with the hope that the other would read it. The book contains their alternate diary entries, from his side and her side. Each insists that they would never read the other’s diary, even though they know it exists. Which is apparently a big lie. Each entry is smartly calculated with the account that the other might very well read it. It’s in a way, indirect communication.

There are so many Japanese elements in it, that I don’t know where to start. It’s all just very very Japanese-y. From the need to be modest, the facade, the obsession, the weirdness, the very opposite of frankness, the mind games, the secretive tendency, the conservative roles, and again the facade, lots of them. Damn the ending is WEIRD!

Rating: 4 out of 5
terrible » poor » mediocre » okay » good » very good » excellent » superb
As weird as it is, I enjoyed every page of it. What a page turner, and what a fresh breeze air from any of the ordinary draggy fictions. Love the first few pages. I have to write 2 first lines below, can’t resist :)

First line

This year I intend to begin writing freely about a topic which, in the past, I have hesitated even to mention here. I have always avoided commenting on my sexual relations with Ikuko, for fear that she might surreptitiously read my diary and be offended.

Last line

That is what he tells me….

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