The Gourmet Club by Jun'ichiro Tanizaki
A Sextet

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Synopsis

The six decadent tales in this collection span 45 years in the career of Japan's master storyteller.
 

About Jun'ichiro Tanizaki

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\JUN'ICHIRO TANIZAKI was born in central Tokyo in 1886. After becoming an overnight celebrity with his literary debut in 1910, he produced a steady stream of novels, short stories, essays, plays, poetry, and translations for the next fifty-five years. His versatility is further demonstrated by the film scenarios he wrote for a Yokohama studio in 1920-21. The 1923 Tokyo earthquake forced him to move to the Kansai region, where he chose to remain for most of the rest of his life. Trips to Korea and China in 1918 and to Shanghai in 1926 were his only overseas experiences. By 1948, when he completed The Makioka Sisters, he was widely considered the preeminent Japanese novelist. In 1949 he received the Order of Culture, the highest honor the emperor can bestow on an artist. He married three times; his third wife, Matsuko, shared the last thirty years of his life. Even in his seventies he was still startling readers with audacious fiction like The Key and Diary of a Mad Old Man, and a year before his death in Atami in 1965 he was elected to the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, the first Japanese to be so honored. Translations of his work began to appear as early as 1917, and by now his novels have been published in at least twenty different languages. Donald Keene's assessment appears to be coming true: "It is likely that if any one writer of the period will stand the test of time and be accepted as a figure of world stature, it will be Tanizaki."ANTHONY H. CHAMBERS, Professor of Japanese at Arizona State University, has translated a number of classical and modern writers. His Tanizaki translations include Naomi, Arrowroot, The Reed Cutter, The Secret History of the Lord of Musashi, and Captain Shigemoto's Mother. He is the author of The Secret Window: Ideal Worlds in Tanizaki's Fiction. PAUL McCARTHY, Professor of Comparative Cultures at Surugadai University, has translated Tanizaki's "The Little Kingdom," "Professor Rado," Childhood Years, and A Cat, a Man, and Two Women, which won the Japan-America Friendship Commission Prize. He has also translated Takeshi Umehara's Lotus and Other Tales of Medieval Japan and Zenno Ishigami's Disciples of the Buddha.
 
Published August 1, 2002 by Kodansha International (JPN). 240 pages
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Gourmet Club

Kirkus Reviews

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The title story describes the search of an aristocratic gourmand throughout Tokyo for yet-unimagined delectables, a search that brings him by chance to a private Chinese club where he is permitted to observe (through a hole in the wall) but not to taste;

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The New York Times

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From the publication of his first story in 1910 until his death in 1965, Junichiro Tanizaki's life and art vied with each other in the pursuit of sensation -- that is, the impact of the sensual -- though both his behavior and his writing often made him a sensation as well.

Aug 19 2001 | Read Full Review of The Gourmet Club: A Sextet

Publishers Weekly

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In six stories, presented chronologically, the reader is taken through the spasms of Tanizaki's career, from the early story "The Children" (1911), with its inflated language and mannered suspense, to the last, "Manganese Dioxide Dreams" (1955), which delineates the frankly tedious scatological f...

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BC Books

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What keeps me from declaring it great is that the lyricism could have been a bit better in parts and some moments within the translation could have been a bit tighter.

Jul 26 2010 | Read Full Review of The Gourmet Club: A Sextet

BC Books

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“The Secret” is the second tale within the collection, and Tanizaki does a good job of establishing the character, yet overall, this tale is not as complex as “The Children.” The big “secret” the tale speaks of isn’t really any shock, and while it is still a solid tale, it is a drop-off in qualit...

Jul 26 2010 | Read Full Review of The Gourmet Club: A Sextet

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