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The Master Key

3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  79 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
Fans of P.D. James, Robert Barnard and other literate writers in the genre will welcome US publication of this prize-winning author's first work. In postwar Tokyo, the K Apartment House for ladies is about to be moved intact in a highly publicized engineering feat. Then, flashback seven years to one of its occupants and her confederate--a man dressed in woman's clothes--as ...more
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Published August 5th 1986 by Penguin Books (first published 1962)
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Nancy Oakes
Like a 3.75 rounded up.

An oldie but still a goodie, The Master Key begins with a highly-publicized architectural experiment: engineers are about to move an entire five-story building to make way for widening an existing road. The engineers have assured the women who live there that they can remain in their apartments for the move, and that they won't notice a thing. They've even convinced the inhabitants of the building that they should all fill a glass with water and watch it ... they won't eve
...more
Sabrina Sor
Jul 02, 2016 Sabrina Sor rated it really liked it
En un edificio sólo de señoritas, en el Japón de postguerra, se entrelazan historias a lo "amas de casa desesperadas" (cuyo creador seguro fue inspirado con estas). El edificio está a punto de ser trasladado y este evento funciona como disparador para una serie de flashbacks que revelan los secretos más oscuros de sus residentes.
Una metáfora sobre la ocupación norteamericana y sus secuelas.
Muy bueno, atrapante y de rápida lectura.
John
Aug 21, 2015 John rated it really liked it
Although billed by its publisher as a crime novel ("an eerie tale of child murder set in the seedy respectability of Tokyo thirty years ago") this is really more like a sort of puzzle box of interlinked tales, all set in an apartment block designed to house single women, many of whom took up residence in their youth but have since become old and, often, highly eccentric.

We open in 1951 with an unsolved child kidnapping and the burial in the apartment block's basement of a tragic little corpse. S
...more
Irs
Feb 14, 2016 Irs rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Al principio es un poco regular, como detalle técnico la traducción es muy mejorable y, en mi opinión, los dos últimos capítulos salvan la historia pero no lo suficiente.
Atram_sinprisa
Oct 10, 2015 Atram_sinprisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Aunque la edición, por desgracia, deja mucho que desear la novela es brillante. Diversas tramas y vidas de una a otra habitación de una casa en la que sólo residen mujeres. El lector, cual James Stewart en La ventana indiscreta, se adentrará en las vidas de esas mujeres, en sus secretos más profundos, desvelando existencias tristes y solitarias. Una delicia.
Chris
Mar 09, 2014 Chris rated it really liked it
A coiled spiral of dread and desperation, and in a novel timeline, begins by showing both the burial and discovery of a child's body in a older women's dormitory (widows, the unmarried, and retirees). It then rewinds and counts down the months leading up to the body's discovery. The characters have these hidden wells of bile from old grudges, regrets, loneliness, and obsession that need surprisingly little to set off. I sought out this book after reading this article about The Bitter Women of Ja ...more
Iblena
Aug 21, 2014 Iblena rated it it was amazing
Un viejo edificio, residencia sólo de mujeres desde la postguerra, va a ser desplazado en bloque unos metros para poder ampliar una calle: el evento influye en la vida, aparentemente tranquila de sus ancianas habitantes, y puede descubrir un secreto enterrado en su sótano. En vísperas de tal acontecimiento desaparece la llave maestra, utilizada para abrir las puestas de todo el edificio, la tensión y el desasosiego crece entre las residentes pues se desconoce quién ha sido el autor del robo.
Una
...more
Lander
Dec 09, 2015 Lander rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantástica novela policiaca en la que los diferentes relatos, cada uno con su misterio, acaban encajando en un puzzle en el q ni siquiera habíamos reparado. Intimo agil y extrañamente endogamico. Parece mentira q esté escrito hace 60 años xk parece una pluma más actual que la mayoría de lis contemporáneos. Se lee en un suspiro. Muy muy recomendable.
Sophia
Nov 18, 2009 Sophia rated it liked it
Shelves: japan, 2009
Written between acts in the green room of a 1960s Japanese nightclub, The Master Key, or Oi Naru Genei, sustains an eerie atmosphere throughout. The story centers on the K Apartments for Ladies, an aging apartment complex for similarly aging spinsters. The disappearance of the master key several months before the planned move of the apartment complex to make way for a new road unnerves its residents, some with secrets to hide. The reader alternatively follows different members of the complex and ...more
Mircalla64 (free Liu Xiaobo)
arsenico e vecchi merletti versione nipponica

vecchie, ma neanche tanto, signore che tramano nell'ombra, costantemente attente ai segreti altrui e ai vecchi scheletri negli armadi, lo zitellaggio che col tempo diventa una condizione mentale, più che materiale, una chiave universale che apre tutte le porte del condominio e che passa di mano,
un santone, da tempo in Giappone sinonimo di truffatore, segreti custoditi male e molta cattiveria...
un finale iperbolico, ma va bene così
Sharonm
Jun 06, 2010 Sharonm rated it liked it
OK book, sort of a mystery, sort of a study of lonely women. It’s set in Japan in a boarding house for women, but really could be set anywhere. It was entertaining for a couple of days.
Sae-chan
Jul 23, 2011 Sae-chan rated it it was ok
Shelves: japanese-writers
Extremely messy story. But truly, everyone has her dirty little secrets.
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