Red Roofs and Other Stories
Tanizaki Jun'ichiro; Translated by Anthony H. Chambers and Paul McCarthy University of Michigan Press, 2016 Library of Congress PL839.A7A6 2016 | Dewey Decimal 895.6344
Tanizaki Jun'ichiro (1886–1965), the author of Naomi; A Cat, a Man, and Two Women; and The Makioka Sisters, was one of the great writers of the twentieth century. The four stories in this volume date from the first and second decades of Tanizaki’s long career and reflect themes that appear throughout his work: exoticism, sexuality, sadomasochism, contrasts between traditional and modern societies, disparities between appearance and reality, the power of dreams, amorality, an interest in cinema, and a fascination with the techniques of storytelling. The stories—translated into English here for the first time—are: “The Strange Case of Tomoda and Matsunaga” (“Tomoda to Matsunaga no hanashi,” 1926), “A Night in Qinhuai” (“Shinwai no yo,” 1919), “The Magician” (“Majutsushi,” 1917), and “Red Roofs” (“Akai yane,” 1925).
When Norman Maclean sent the manuscript of A River Runs through It and Other Stories to New York publishers, he received a slew of rejections. One editor, so the story goes, replied, “it has trees in it.” Forty years later, the title novella is recognized as one of the great American tales of the twentieth century, and Maclean as one of the most beloved writers of our time. The finely distilled product of a long life of often surprising rapture—for fly-fishing, for the woods, for the interlocked beauty of life and art—A River Runs through It has established itself as a classic of the American West. This new edition will introduce a fresh audience to Maclean’s beautiful prose and understated emotional insights.
Elegantly redesigned, A River Runs through It includes a new foreword by Robert Redford, director of the Academy Award-winning 1992 film adaptation of River. Based on Maclean’s own experiences as a young man, the book’s two novellas and short story are set in the small towns and mountains of western Montana. It is a world populated with drunks, loggers, card sharks, and whores, but also one rich in the pleasures of fly-fishing, logging, cribbage, and family. By turns raunchy and elegiac, these superb tales express, in Maclean’s own words, “a little of the love I have for the earth as it goes by.”
Just as Norman Maclean writes at the end of "A River Runs through It" that he is "haunted by waters," so have readers been haunted by his novella. A retired English professor who began writing fiction at the age of 70, Maclean produced what is now recognized as one of the classic American stories of the twentieth century. Originally published in 1976, A River Runs through It and Other Stories now celebrates its twenty-fifth anniversary, marked by this new edition that includes a foreword by Annie Proulx.
Maclean grew up in the western Rocky Mountains in the first decades of the twentieth century. As a young man he worked many summers in logging camps and for the United States Forest Service. The two novellas and short story in this collection are based on his own experiences—the experiences of a young man who found that life was only a step from art in its structures and beauty. The beauty he found was in reality, and so he leaves a careful record of what it was like to work in the woods when it was still a world of horse and hand and foot, without power saws, "cats," or four-wheel drives. Populated with drunks, loggers, card sharks, and whores, and set in the small towns and surrounding trout streams and mountains of western Montana, the stories concern themselves with the complexities of fly fishing, logging, fighting forest fires, playing cribbage, and being a husband, a son, and a father.
By turns raunchy, poignant, caustic, and elegiac, these are superb tales which express, in Maclean's own words, "a little of the love I have for the earth as it goes by." A first offering from a 70-year-old writer, the basis of a top-grossing movie, and the first original fiction published by the University of Chicago Press, A River Runs through It and Other Stories has sold more than a million copies. As Proulx writes in her foreword to this new edition, "In 1990 Norman Maclean died in body, but for hundreds of thousands of readers he will live as long as fish swim and books are made."