Jun’ichiro Tanizaki: 白昼鬼語 (Devils in Daylight)

The latest addition to my website is Jun’ichiro Tanizaki‘s 白昼鬼語 (Devils in Daylight), the second of two Tanizaki novels to appear from New Directions later this month (April 2017). This is a fairly short and early novel. It has one of Tanizaki’s favourite themes – the femme fatale. The Tanizaki alter ego, Takasashi, the narrator, tells of his somewhat unbalanced, rich and single friend Sonomura who gets wind of a murder to take place and wants Takasashi to accompany him to witness but not intervene in the murder. Takasashi reluctantly does so and, after one failed attempt to find the house where the murder takes place, they do seem to manage to find the house. They are able to hide and watch what seem to be foul deeds being committed by a man and a woman. Takasashi is even more concerned when he finds his friend having Eiko, the woman, in his house and then, later the man. Sonomura is clearly sexually attracted to Eiko, not only because she is a very good-looking woman but because her sexual attraction is enhanced by her involvement in dangerous deeds. Tanizaki tells a good story, with the inevitable unexpected twist.

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