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The Makioka Sisters (Vintage Classics) by [Tanizaki, Junichiro]
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The Makioka Sisters (Vintage Classics) Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Length: 546 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review

Praise for Junichiro Tanizaki's "The Makioka Sisters
" A masterpiece of great beauty and quality. "Chicago Tribune"
Skillfully and subtly, Tanizaki brushes in a delicate picture of a gentle world that no longer exists. "San Francisco Chronicle""

Praise for Junichiro Tanizaki's The Makioka Sisters

"A masterpiece of great beauty and quality." -Chicago Tribune

"Skillfully and subtly, Tanizaki brushes in a delicate picture of a gentle world that no longer exists." -San Francisco Chronicle

Book Description

'The outstanding Japanese novelist of the century...The Makioka Sisters is his greatest book' Edmund White, New York Times Book Review

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1939 KB
  • Print Length: 546 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital; New Ed edition (19 Jan. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00351YF6Q
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #59,480 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Makioka Sisters (Vintage Classics)

by Junichiro Tanizaki

Rating: 4.5 out 0f 5

This is probably one of the most sensitively written books I have ever read. The story is set mainly in Osaka during World War II. However, it focuses less on current events and more on the life of one declining family in Japan during this time. The story focuses on four sisters whose parents are dead and the eldest has adopted the Makioka name, hence becoming the "head" of the household and she lives with her husband and children in Tokyo or the "main house".

The four Makioka sisters are: Tsuruko, the eldest married to Tetsuo (a bank employee); Sachiko, married to Teinosuke (an accountant); and the two unmarried sisters, Yukiko and Taeko (or Koi-San), who live with Sachiko and Teinosuke in Osaka.

As per the tradition in the country at that time, the older sister Yukiko should marry before Taeko (the youngest) and both should live at the "main house". However, both sisters live with Sachiko (second sister) who is very indulgent and more of a friend to both sisters than the eldest, Tsuruko. However, despite the main house's attempts to get Yukiko to come live there, she manages to go back to Sachiko (I really found her passive aggressive personality very interesting!). There are also numerous attempts to get her married which fail for one reason or another. Taeko, on the other hand, is an independent young woman who is trying to earn her own living and is prepared to wait for her older sister to get married before marrying her long term love. Her personality, however, is so fierce for the time that she is considered "bad" or "evil" by the main house and they make no attempt to get her to live with them.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An absorbing insight into the social niceties of early 20th century Japan. The Makioka family has known better times and now, with war looming and austerity taking hold, they are finding it difficult to maintain standards. They are also reaping the consequences of their past aloofness in marriage negotiations in trying to marry off the third sister. The youngest sister is a modern woman, champing at the bit to live an independent life. Second sister Sachiko and her husband Teinosuke do their best to navigate their way through society's expectations and the changing times they live in. I was torn between feeling sympathy for Sachiko's frustrations with her younger sisters and empathy with youngest sister Taeko's nonconformity. The characterisations are beautiful, and I was immersed in the story completely. The ending is a little abrupt, but as I'm not always a fan of neatly tied up finishes, it didn't bother me too much.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful novel, but unfortunately the Kindle edition is littered with misprints and typos. The publisher obviously did not spend the time to correct the mistakes from the scanned text. It is a shame that a publisher can allow such sloppiness to occur; it certainly does detract from the reading experience. Five stars for the book, one star for the edition.
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Format: Paperback
The Makioka Sisters (Sasame Yuki, Light Snow), first published in 1948, was written by Junichiro Tanizaki (1886-1965). Tanizaki wrote The Makioka Sisters after translating the Tale of Genji into modern Japanese and the Murasaki novel is said to have influenced his own. It tells of the declining years of the once powerful Makioka family and their last descendants, four sisters. It has been translated by Edward G. Seidensticker in 1957. Powerfully realistic, it mourns the passing of greatness while celebrating in wonderfully evocative detail the beauty of a particular time and place, Osaka in the 1930s. In its creation of beauty out of sadness it can be compared to another family saga, The Maias (1888), by the Portuguese master E'a de Queiroz (1845-1900).

Why is this long book, largely concerned with trivial family procedures, one of the finest novels written? It is not concerned with great events, causes or philosophies. It has little concern with the war Japan was fighting with China, and then the USA, when the book was first published. Indeed its characters don't think about the war, and in a positive way, which doesn't trivialise their concerns at all (most people in fact don't think about the reasons for a war: perhaps it's better that way). This doesn't mean the book is escapist or superficial, just as the concern with women's lifestyle, dress, makeup, etiquette or social vanity make it something written just for women (books and films were once made - by men - to capitalise on what were considered women's 'little' concerns). Tanizaki does that wonderful thing a great artist can do, he finds the universal in the most exact examination of the particular, and makes a work of relevance to us all.
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Format: Paperback
This story, primarily set in Osaka, spans a period of four years (from 1937 to 1941). This period, is a tumultuous period for Japan, and we view it from the perspective of one family. The Makioka is a family in decline and after the death of the parents, the husband of the eldest daughter adopts the Makioka name and becomes the head of the family. There are four sisters: the eldest is Tsuruko, married to Tetsuo (a bank employee); Sachiko, married to Teinosuke (an accountant); and the two unmarried sisters, Yukiko and Taeko, who live with Sachiko and Teinosuke.

Tradition dictates that Yukiko should be married before her younger sister, Taeko. Tradition also dictates that unmarried sisters should live with the head of the house. Some traditions, it seems, are easier to ignore than others. A number of attempts to marry off Yukiko fail: Yukiko herself, seemingly passive in many ways, exerts considerable influence from the shadows. Marriage to someone at some stage is seen as inevitable but Yukiko does not seem enthusiastic. In the meantime, Taeko is trying to live her own life.

This is an amazing novel. The shifts in fortune for the Makioka family, the changes within Japanese upper-class society, and the influences of the Western world all shape the story. On the face of it, this novel is about the minutiae of the lives of sisters during a period of four years. The turmoil of Taeko's life, the attempts to arrange a marriage for Yukiko and the challenges faced by the careworn elder sister Tsuruko with both social standing and family to maintain contrast with the comparative happiness of Sachiko's life. The detail of the lives of the sisters provides an intricate view of upper-class Osakan life immediately before World War II: tradition and obligation as well as moments of great beauty. Simply superb.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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