Thumbs up for Some Prefer Nettles by Junichiro Tanizaki. Literature.
A very quiet domestic novel about a pair of self-acknowledged cowards who cannot bring themselves to break off their loveless, but not hateful, marriage. The style and topic reminded me a great deal of Kawabata’s Snow Country (see my review) – which is a good thing, because I loved that. The simple, lucid writing lulled me into a lovely, dreamlike state, and while I have no way to know if it would have that effect on anyone else, I would say that if you like a novel about the complexities of ordinary human relationships, you should give this a try.
“But whatever sorrows and dangers they faced, it seemed to be the rule that Misako and Kaname could laugh and joke when Takanatsu was with them as they could not by themselves. That may have been partly the result of his efforts to put them at ease, but what really seemed to lift the weight from their spirits was the fact that Takanatsu alone knew everything, that there was no need to act in front of him. How long had it been, Misako wondered, since she had last heard Kaname really laugh. The peace and calm of being able to sit on a sunny south veranda, chair opposite chair, watching the boy and the dogs at play in the garden below – the contentment of receiving this visitor from afar, Kaname speaking, Misako answering, the reserve between them broken down – showed unexpectedly how much there still was about them of the husband and wife when for the moment they were free not to play at being husband and wife. It would not last, they knew, but they could enjoy breathing freely for one short moment.”
If you enjoyed this post, please share it!