Translation Works
The 2nd Selected Works
TITLE
The Waiting Years
(Onnazaka)
AUTHOR
Translator
RUSSIAN / Galina Dutkina published
Originally Published by:
Shinchosha (1961) (pb)
KEY POINTS
  • The masterpiece of a writer who portrays women's sexual and work lives based on a broad ranging knowledge of classical literature
SYNOPSIS
Love that is unrequited regardless of steadfast and utmost efforts and has nowhere to go
 
Early in Japan's Meiji Era, Tomo, the wife of a regional official in Fukushima, Yukitomo Shirakawa, is traveling with her 9-year-old daughter, Etsuko, and a maid to visit an acquaintance in Tokyo. She has come to Tokyo to seek a mistress for her husband. When Shirakawa's love for Tomo cooled about a year earlier, he himself had requested that she do this for him.
After a month in Tokyo, Tomo selects a 15-year-old girl called Suga, but she suffers at the thought of having to publicly admit that her husband would become another woman's. Although this thankless task saddened her, it did not have the effect of altering her love for Shirakawa because of her belief in the moral dictate of utter devotion to her husband.
The lust Shirakawa feels toward the newly acquired Suga, who is young enough to be his daughter, is also directed toward his housemaids and even the wife of his oldest son. Regardless of this, Tomo continues consummately playing the role of her husband's most faithful manager. She is also kept busy with efforts to smooth over the repercussions of scandals created by her sons and grandsons.
This is a novel that portrays the tragedy and resentment of a woman who persevered in sacrificing everything she had and never was to experience true love or happiness.
 
GENRE: Literary fiction
 
AWARDS: 53rd Noma Literary Prize
(Given for outstanding works that contribute to the progressive betterment of the quality of Japanese literature)
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2018 International Translation Forum on Contemporary Japanese LiteratureJLPP Translation Workshop 2018