The 2019 Rugby World Cup and the Japan 2020 Olympics are drawing an international spotlight on Japan. VINTAGE have published a great array of titles from Japanese authors this year, and have brought together a curated book bundle for you to win. Here they are:
In Praise of Shadows (1933)
This book is in fact a portal. Reading it, you will be led by Junichiro Tanizaki’s light touch into a mysterious and tranquil world of darkness and shadows, where gold flashes in the gloom and a deep stillness reigns. A fully illustrated, beautifully produced edition of Junichiro Tanizaki's wise and evocative essay on Japanese culture.
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (1994)
Toru Okada’s cat has disappeared. His wife is growing more distant every day. Then there are the increasingly explicit telephone calls he has recently been receiving. As this compelling story unfolds, the tidy suburban realities of Okada’s vague and blameless life, spent cooking, reading, listening to jazz and opera and drinking beer at the kitchen table, are turned inside out. He embarks on a bizarre journey, guided by a succession of characters, each with a tale to tell.
A band of savage thirteen-year-old boys reject the adult world as illusory, hypocritical, and sentimental, and train themselves in a brutal callousness they call ‘objectivity’. When the mother of one of them begins an affair with a ship’s officer, he and his friends idealise the man at first; but it is not long before they conclude that he is in fact soft and romantic. They regard this disillusionment as an act of betrayal on his part - and the retribution is deliberate and horrifying.
The Makioka Sisters (1957)
In the years leading up to the Second World War, four sisters live in dilapidated houses in Osaka and Ashiya, and each navigate their own complex, personal relationship to the fading lustre of the Makioka family name. Rich with breathtaking descriptions of ancient customs and an ever-changing natural world, Junichiro Tanizaki evokes in loving detail a long-lost way of life even as it withers under the harsh glare of modernity.
In the Tokyo suburbs four women work the graveyard shift at a factory. Burdened with heavy debts, alienated from husbands and children, they all secretly dream of a way out of their dead-end lives. A young mother among them finally cracks and strangles her philandering, gambling husband. She confesses her crime to her colleagues and unexpectedly, they agree to help.
Each morning, the Professor and the Housekeeper are introduced to one another. The Professor may not remember what he had for breakfast, but his mind is still alive with elegant mathematical equations from the past. He devises clever maths riddles – based on her shoe size or her birthday – and the numbers reveal a sheltering and poetic world to both the Housekeeper and her ten-year-old son. With each new equation, the three lost souls forge an affection more mysterious than imaginary numbers, and a bond that runs deeper than memory.
Killing Commendatore (2018)
When a thirty-something portrait painter is abandoned by his wife, he holes up in the mountain home of a famous artist. The days drift by, spent painting, listening to music and drinking whiskey in the evenings. But then he discovers a strange painting in the attic and unintentionally begins a strange journey of self-discovery that involves a mysterious ringing bell, a precocious thirteen-year-old girl, a Nazi assassination attempt and a haunted underworld.
The Memory Police (2019)
Hat, ribbon, bird, rose. To the people on the island, a disappeared thing no longer has any meaning. It can be burned in the garden, thrown in the river or handed over to the Memory Police. Soon enough, the island forgets it ever existed. When a young novelist discovers that her editor is in danger of being taken away by the Memory Police, she desperately wants to save him. For some reason, he doesn’t forget, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult for him to hide his memories. Who knows what will vanish next?
A beautifully designed week-to-view diary for 2020, featuring unique artwork inspired by Haruki Murakami's works along with quotations and significant dates.