Gertrude & Victoria's Reviews > The Key

The Key by Jun'ichirō Tanizaki
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's review
Jan 26, 2009

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bookshelves: japanese-library

The Key is an intriquing depiction of a man's final attempts at regaining his youth and manliness, which also is, his means at keeping decrepitude and death at bay, even if only momentarily. Here, Tanizaki Junichiro explores strains of a worn-out marriage in its last stages, where duplicitousness and perversion prevail. This novel is a dark, but humorous portrait of man's nature.

A man and his wife, both of whom are middle-aged, keep dairies that contain activities of the previous day and night. The psychology of trust and manipulation come into play when both suspect the other of secretly reading the other's private thoughts. Both can only guess what the other is thinking and doing. Are the entries truthful or fictious? Are they to reveal or deceive? And for what pupose? Readers, likewise, are left only to their suppositions in this game of perpetual deception. This novel looks into many interesting aspects of conjugal relations that are brought out into the light of day for examination and contemplation.
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