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The Key: Catatan Harian Seorang Istri Penuh Gairah dan Seorang Suami Pencemburu

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  4,681 ratings  ·  552 reviews
Novel memikat ini bercerita tentang seorang profesor setengah baya yang takut kehilangan kekuatan seksualnya dan dengan menggebu-gebu berusaha membangkitkan gairah Ikuko, istri yang telah mendampinginya selama 30 tahun, dengan berbagai cara, tapi akhirnya malah menimbulkan kecemburuan dan voyeurisme. Di sisi lain, Ikuko adalah seorang wanita yang tergila-gila akan kepuasan ...more
Paperback, 200 pages
Published June 2012 by Serambi Ilmu Semesta (first published 1956)
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Aimée Her role? It can either be a pawn in a story, an extra entity to add a bit of extra interest. Or, it can be a thing to help emphasise or demonstrate a…moreHer role? It can either be a pawn in a story, an extra entity to add a bit of extra interest. Or, it can be a thing to help emphasise or demonstrate a point. I didn't like being too explicit because of putting in 'spoilers' that might catch peoples eyes if they've not read it. But, I have put a comment on one of the answers/reviews below (it's on a well liked one written in English talking about the role of communication in `real' relationships) that if you think along that line might suggest some 'role' to her other than the first sort of 'role' suggested. If you keep in mind the jealousy and manipulations for power or pleasure or release in the book within the restrictions that are upon them for whatever reason, which is then a common general theme in the book, featuring in both the daughter-mother relationship, manifested over kimura and the father-kimura over the mother. Having the suggestion of the first one with the well articulated one of the second should perhaps suggest something. Of course, you might think differently. But, that's just some suggestions as to where my thoughts are going. (less)
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Average rating 3.58  · 
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 ·  4,681 ratings  ·  552 reviews

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Start your review of The Key: Catatan Harian Seorang Istri Penuh Gairah dan Seorang Suami Pencemburu
Dec 07, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japanese, reviewed, 1950s
Tanizaki's main theme always seems to psychoanalyze his characters' sexual drive in every book. Sometimes it's more subdued, in The Key though it is front and center and the main point. The book follows a husband and wife, with alternating diary entries between the two. Their love life is the focus and it's clear that while they are writing this for themselves, they are also actively writing it for each other in the hopes that the other is reading (the husband literally states this in his first ...more
Cécile C.
Oct 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who will take it seriously
This book was, ironically, one of the only classics I manages to find in a collection of popular/mainstream literature. I stopped wondering why after ten pages. It is short nd concise and very hot and perverse, and you even have the excuse that it is classical Japanese literature--what's not to love?

Fortunately, it is also much, much more than cheap eroticism. Indeed, to read it as an exciting bedside reading is to miss the point entirely. It is rather a psychological novel, based on the partial
Jan 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-reads
This is my favorite Tanizaki book.

Tanizaki is a master in story telling.

His central point to me is around the impossibility to create real, deep, human connections and be able to establish a channel of communication: you feel that no matter how hard you try to connect to another human being, you are destined to fail.

Although we should know better, we will use tricks and deception and in the end we will have distorted and ruined any chance we had of creating a real and honest
It's funny to read a two-diary he-said she-said novel so soon after reading John Fowles' "The Collector." In that one, the idea of the unreliable narrator is stronger; here we seem to have reliable narrators, until the stunning denouement proves at least one of them to be intentionally misleading - for a purpose that would be a spoiler. And it's a fairly astonishing purpose. This is a story about the tragic results of poor marital communication and divergent needs, though at heart the needs of b ...more
Dec 31, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cam *tactile seeker*

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Published in 1956, after its author had to censor it due to the explicit sexual content, Kagi comes only a year after Lolita, the other Classic I've read since the beginning of the new year.
I couldn't have chosen two books more similar in their recurring themes, in the violent protests they caused in the Countries where they were published, in the way they both depict the contrast between two different, but greatly codependent worlds.

Tanizaki Junichiro had two favorite subjects: erotic obse
Samir Rawas Sarayji
My first Tanizaki book and it didn’t disappoint. A subtle, erotic story about the emotional extremes or games a couple will go to to enhance the excitement of their sexual life. Only not in a vulgar way. This is an early 20th century Japanese novel that compares traditional and moral values with egocentric urges and desires to create a stimulating tale. And true to Classical Japanese, it’s all in the nuances and subtleties that the characters (and the reader) are stimulated. It’s hard to comment ...more
Feb 12, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japanese
Hard to believe that this book was published in a 1956 Japan. There are no reservations about the prose. This is very clearly a sexually charged piece of writing, exploring the efforts of a couple to liven up their marriage from its dying embers. This happens through diary entries written by both the husband and the wife in their respective journals. Are they reading each other’s diaries? Are their dormant sexual desires bound to manifest themselves in reality sooner rather than later? A thrilli ...more
Oct 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Key was my first Tanizaki novel. I went into it completely in the dark and, judging by the blur, I thought I was getting a sort-of love story between a couple who grow to love each other after years of estrangement. I didn't get that. What I did get was a growing psychological thriller where sex is used as a weapon in what became a very subtle and complex relationship.

The story is told from two points of view, the husband and the wife, and it is a very good example of the game of one sided
Shawn Mooney (Shawn The Book Maniac)
A piece of garbage any self-respecting writer would never have inflicted on the world. Was there a weekend novel writing contest in Japan in 1956? That’s about how much care it feels like Tanizaki took in “shaping“ this mean-spirited little tale about odious characters getting it on. I can’t imagine how the diary-writing structure could possibly have been employed more ineptly.

Do yourself a favor and skip this joke of a novel and go directly to his masterpiece, The Makioka Sisters. Or, if you wa
Mar 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japan
Read review on: https://thereadingarmchair.blogspot.c...

In The Key, we read the story through the two diaries of a middle-aged couple. Both of them are writing with the intention that the other one is reading it. Nevertheless, they both deny that they do. The two perspectives of these diaries are completely different.

The man decides that for the first time he will be explicit about his sexual desires towards his wife. He realizes that his drive is failing him and he feels that he is unable to s
Jan 06, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
An elderly professor plays cat-and-mouse mind games with his younger wife. She has what he claims is an insatiable sexual appetite and he feels he is no longer able to satisfy here, partly due to age, partly because she is extremely conservative and reserved and refuses to try anything other than the 'traditional way', hence his inability to work up a passion. As she is also very reticent, she refuses to discuss the problem with him and so he devises a way of 'talking' to her through his diary w ...more
Dioni (Bookie Mee)
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, indirec ...more
A novella structured around alternating diary entries, and dealing with the sexual obsession (again) of an older man with his "much" younger wife. (Only 11 years, in fact.) Interesting in parts, though also somewhat repetitive and artificial in parts. Ths is late Tanizaki (1956) ...more
Oct 03, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Cheap, smutty and pointless.
Jun 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature, japan
This book is incredible for numerous reasons, but its brilliance reveals itself most easily and most characteristically to me in two ways:

1. This is one of the most refined, subtle, and elusive, yet intoxicatingly sensual portrayals of sexuality in literature I've come across. The nature of sex here really does seem to reflect a very traditionally Japanese style where things are hinted at masterfully or referred to evasively but never wholly revealed, which mirrors the actions of Ikuko and her n
A muted psychosexual thriller in its midst, Tanizaki's The Key is a strangely gripping story of a middle-aged couple who decide to write their sexual shortcomings and fantasies on their respective diaries. Bound by suspicions of adultery and deceit, what develops is a sexual manipulation each, to an extent, enjoys and inflicts/receives upon the other intentionally. And indeed this novelette would have been nothing but a real bore if only for the repetitive (inexplicit) sexual acts girded by the ...more
Catherine (literaryprints)
The only reason I finished this was because me and my buddy-read partner wanted to have grounds to completely roast this book. Let the roasting commence.

Perverse, problematic (so much sexism?????), utterly unlikeable characters, plain writing. I feel like Tanizaki went, “Well, how can I write the most pointlessly repetitive and predictable plot ever, think up the most detestable cast of characters, with some perverted scenes thrown in here and there to irritate the hell out of the poor souls who
Oct 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tanizaki sort of reminds me of Moravia for some reason. Both writers make me horny. "The Key" is about a middle-aged man who loves his emotionally distant wife - and explores ways of finding new sexual twists and kinks as well as each one keeps a diary of their activities. Sensual to the max and very human. ...more
Basically a story about an old Japanese couple playing a risqué game of chicken, told via diary entries which the other is most certainly NOT reading.
It's fine but I did not really get into the *ahem* spirit in which it was written. Only 160 pages, but I forgot about it for a few months and only finished it to cross it off my Tanizaki list.
Leo Robertson
Like The Twits except psychosexual ;)

What a weird couple--I thought one of the benefits of marriage is that couples are supposed to look after each other and stop bothering the rest of us. This pair needed to get their shit together: keep getting each other drunk in the company of their daughter and some young guy because they aren't getting laid enough. Seriously, sort your shit out, this behaviour is unacceptable :P
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Xantha Page
Jun 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A skeezy, but very delicate and subtle novel. The form is remarkable: diary entries written by husband and wife, both writing with the expectation that the other is having a peek. Driven by certain circumstances, they enter a sort of unspoken bargain that drives each of them further into sexual transgression, each step toward "the line" only stimulating them further. Of course the diary entries through which we track their progress, being written as much (if not more) for the purpose of manipula ...more
Sep 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book it leaves a feeling of being touched by something delicate but it is very absorbing at the same time.

It makes you feel like you are looking into an alien world (different times, different culture) but yet it is all so familiar and relevant. I loved the erotic game that the husband and wife are playing with each other (occasionally dragging in a few other characters).

The characters have a quality of a quick sketch that a masterful artist puts on paper - five pencil strokes and
Jul 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A couple s life after many years: they have their issues, and communicate them through reading each other s personal diaries. They end up in a love triangle, do strange things, they go beyond their usual everyday routines. The situation is full of mixed feelings, even opposing ones for each other. The ending is a dark, tragic one.
Sep 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tanizaka weaves a wonderful story and takes you, ultimately to a place you might not have anticipated. This may have elements of dark comedy, but if so it is bleached boned dry and did not have me smiling.

Mine is the Howard Hibbet translation published by Perigee. This is a novel very much about sex and adult desires. Very little occurs on the page that could be called graphic or “hard core” but front to back the themes are adult. Almost front to back it is about sex.

The story is told in about
Kimmo Sinivuori
Mar 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Eirini Robin
Actual rating: 4.5 :)

It was a fluent read yet perverted in many aspects- but I don't really regret reading it! :)
In the summary it's being said that the difference in the way of written speech between the married couple would eventually leads us to be in favor of one out of them. Well, in the beginning I was leaning towards Ikuko, the wife, but after a certain point both's attitude was much much more twisted around the sexual games and the creation of the husband's jealousy- which lead me to r
Gertrude & Victoria
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.
Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
A middle-aged couple chronicle a sexual obsession in parallel diaries, both kept secret from the other. A demure but voracious wife and her husband, who is more adventurous but has less sheer sexual drive, discover strange new ways to finally fulfill their deepest passions. Brandy, unconsciousness, infidelity and rare steaks are the ingredients in a sort of war of sexual attrition from which even the survivors do not emerge unscathed.

A dark, disturbing tale of obsessive desire told in an unusua
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Jun'ichirō Tanizaki (谷崎 潤一郎) was a Japanese author, and one of the major writers of modern Japanese literature, perhaps the most popular Japanese novelist after Natsume Sōseki.

Some of his works present a rather shocking world of sexuality and destructive erotic obsessions; others, less sensational, subtly portray the dynamics of family life in the context of the rapid changes in 20th-century Japa

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“En aquel momento tenía la sensación de haber accedido bruscamente a otro mundo, había ascendido a una altura vertiginosa, al cenit del éxtasis. Aquello era la realidad, y el pasado una mera ilusión. Estábamos solos, abrazados… Tal vez lo que estaba haciendo acabaría conmigo, pero esos momentos durarían eternamente.” 1 likes
“Зная, что я фетишист женских ножек, зная, что её ноги дивно красивы (не поверишь, что они принадлежат сорокапятилетней женщине), нет, именно поэтому она старается, чтобы я видел их как можно реже. Даже в середине лета, в самую жару, она не снимает носков. Когда я умоляю позволить мне поцеловать ступни её ног, она не желает и слушать, говоря: "Какая пакость!", или: "Не смей ко мне прикасаться!” 1 likes
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