Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme that was started by @Lauren’s Page Turners but is now currently being hosted by Emily @ Budget Tales Book Blog. This meme is quite easy to follow – just randomly pick a book from your to-be-read list and give the reasons why you want to read it. It is that simple.
This week’s book:
The Waiting Years by Fumiko Enchi
Blurb from Goodreads
The beautiful, immature girl whom she took home to her husband was a maid only in name. Tomo’s real mission had been to find him a mistress. Nor did her secret humiliation end there. The web that his insatiable lust spun about him soon trapped another young woman, and another … and the relationships between the women thus caught were to form, over the years, a subtle, shifting pattern in which they all played a part. There was Suga, the innocent, introspective girl from a respectable but impoverished family; the outgoing, cheerful, almost boyish Yumi; the flirtatious, seductive Miya, who soon found her father-in-law more dependable as a man than his brutish son…. And at the center, rejected yet dominating them all, the near tragic figure of the wife Tomo, whose passionate heart was always, until that final day, held in check by an old-fashioned code.
In a series of colorful, unforgettable scenes, Enchi brilliantly handles the human interplay within the ill-fated Shirakawa family. Japan’s leading woman novelist and a member of the prestigious Art Academy, she combines a graceful, evocative style that consciously echoes the Tale of Genji with keen insight and an impressive ability to develop her characters over a long period of time. Her work is rooted deep in the female psychology, and it is her women above all-so clearly differentiated yet all so utterly feminine-who live in the memory. With The Waiting Years, a new and important literary figure makes her debut in the Western world.
Why I Want To Read It
Happy Monday everyone! I hope you all had a great start to the week. Oh, today is the Fourth of July! It is an important date for Americans as they commemorate the adoption of their Declaration of Independence (July 4, 1776). Today also marks Philippine-American Friendship Day or Philippine Republic Day. For some time, the Philippines celebrated its Independence Day on July 4, instead of the customary June 12, following the country’s Declaration of Independence from the USA on July 4, 1946. President Diosdado Macapagal moved Philippine Independence Day back to June 12. That’s enough history lesson today. I hope that everyone is doing well, in body, mind, and spirit. There is a bit of a surge here in the Philippines but it seems that everybody has adjusted their mindset. While I understand that protocols are in place, I hope that everyone still observes minimum health protocols. I just hope that the pandemic, with all its variants, will soon come to an end.
To kickstart the blogging week, I am posting a new Goodreads Monday update. After two months of traveling across Europe through works of European literature, I have resolved to pivot towards one of my comfort zones in the vast ambit of literature: Japanese literature. I think I have recently been spending my birth month in this territory. Oh well. It speaks of much I admire the diversity of Japanese literature. I have actually finished one book by Yukio Mishima, The Sound of Waves. This is my third by the esteemed albeit eccentric writer. I am currently reading The Samurai, my second novel by Shūsaku Endō. In two books, I have experienced romance and the history of Christian missionaries in Japan. Anyway, for this Goodreads Monday update, I am featuring an unfamiliar name, Fumiko Enchi, with one of her most popular works, The Waiting Years.
I know for sure that this is not my first time encountering Enchi but my memory is failing me. Anyway, I just learned that it was the pseudonym used by Fumiko Ueda, one of the most prominent female writers of the Showa period (December 25, 1926, to January 7, 1989). She established a reputation for exploring the struggles of women in Japanese society. And it seems that this is the core of her novel, The Waiting Years. It was originally published in 1957 as 女坂, Onna zaka. The book is the portrayal of a woman’s struggle in a highly patriarchal society during the Meiji Period (1868–1912). She was subservient to all of her husband’s wishes and desires, to the point that she chose her husband’s mistresses. Now that’s an interesting notion. Imagine the humiliation she had to face. No one would want to be in that position.
Interestingly, the book was partly based on the story of Enchi’s grandmother. The book was warmly received with critical acclaim by the Japanese audience. It even earned Enchi the Noma Prize. For now, the goal is to obtain a copy of the novel. How about you fellow reader? Are there works of Japanese literature you can recommend to me? I hope you can share it in the comment box.