Andrew's Reviews > Naomi

Naomi by Jun'ichirō Tanizaki
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's review
Apr 04, 2012

bookshelves: japanese-fiction, prewar-japanese-fiction
Read in April, 2012

When I say "this is like a Japanese version of Lolita," that probably sounds like it could be the perviest shit on the planet. It's really not. So I'll preface this by saying that while it is a Japanese version of Lolita, there's no schoolgirl tentacle rape or anything like that.

Rather, what you get is a narrator who is a more pathetic version of Humbert. And the titular Naomi, unlike the light of Humbert's life and fire of his loins, takes on superhuman layers as the symbol for a whole society in transition (think Zola's Nana). She is the new Japan embodied as a human, transitioning from a manipulative small town geisha into the manipulative grand courtesan of Tokyo expatriate society. For all my friends who have expatriated themselves in Hong Kong and Bangkok and Saigon, this is your warning.
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