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Secrets in locked diaries
on 15 December 2000
The old husband keeps a diary. He writes about his physical and emotional relationship with his wife, and would really like his wife to read it whenever he is away because that seems to be the only way he can communicate certain things to her. At least that's what he writes in his diary.
The younger and more energetic wife keeps a diary. She writes about her physical and emotional relationship with her husband. She does not want her husband to know that she keeps a diary, and certainly she does not want him to read it because she writes certain things she rather not let her husband know about. At least that's what she writes in her diary.
The Key is a short novel about a couple who have reached a certain point in their marriage where they have to try radically new things in order to feel that they love each other. It is written in the format of diary entries, a format which in Tanizaki's hands is used to craft a beautifully written novel. When I reviewed Ben Elton's Inconceivable I said that this format can be very powerful if used well. Tanizaki proved this point in this novel over 40 years ago.
This novel is unpredictable and full of twists and turns and kept me wondering what's going to happen next. Since both husband and wife know that their partner may be reading their diary, it is hard to tell how honest they are in their writing. Both funny and tragic, it is great fun to read.
The Key is a well written novel about individuals and relationships. I recommend it to all of you.