David Mytton

Book Review (5/5) – In Praise of Shadows (Jun’ichirō Tanizaki)

Published (updated: ) in Book Reviews.

Originally published on Goodreads.

The flow through so many topics is impressive in how smoothly Tanizaki covers so many seemingly different but completely relevant areas. It reminds me of Lost Japan in lamenting some of the past but still seeing how it could be reimagined and appreciated in the present, even if the present of this book is now many years in the past.

I’m not sure about his opinion that the West doesn’t really understand the dark. Shadows and darkness are what I associate most with Victorian London, especially with the smog and other effects of the Industrial Revolution.

I also think cities like London and Edinburgh are faring much better when it comes to architectural conservatism as well – one only has to visit the vast areas of modern Tokyo and Kyoto to understand the contrast the shrinking of the more traditional quarters.