Fumiko Enchi’s Masks (translated by Juliet Winters Carpenter) begins in Kyoto, where Tsuneo Ibuki and Toyoki Mikame, two university lecturers. Masks is a fascinating novel in which the author. Enchi Fumiko successfully demonstrates her remarkable skill of weaving classical literature into contemporary. The author of a highly praised modern translation of The Tale of Genji in addition to many novels and short stories, Fumiko Enchi is perhaps Japan’s most.
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Return to Book Page. Preview dumiko Masks by Fumiko Enchi. Masks by Fumiko Enchi. Juliet Winters Carpenter Translator. Masks takes its name from the Noh masks of Japanese dramas, and much is made of spirit possession. This is a curiously elegant and scandalous tale of sexual deception and revenge. Ibuki loves widow Yasuko who is young, charming and sparkling with intelligence as well as beauty.
His friend, Mikame, desires her too but that is not the difficulty. What troubles Ibuki is the c Masks takes its name from the Noh masks of Japanese dramas, nechi much is made of spirit possession. What troubles Ibuki is the curious bond that has grown between Yasuko and her mother-in-law, Mieko, a handsome, cultivated yet jealous woman in her fifties, who is manipulating the relationship between Yasuko and the two men who love her.
Paperbackpages. Published September 12th by Vintage first published To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Masksplease sign up. Lists with This Book. Aug 16, Samadrita rated it really liked it Shelves: No longer mere object, no longer prey. No longer the one who wouldn’t dare, No more stung by the prick of infidelity. Yet no less woman than she was yesterday. No more the unloved girlchild of yore. No longer pushed aside to a lesser role.
No more just the wronged one – Who dons her mantle of victimhood, And channels her impotent fury at the world. She has her Noh masks now – To wear like second skins at this masquerade ball.
Do you know the real her? She who lays out her cards and plays her hand well – And No longer mere object, no fumijo prey. She who lays out her cards and plays her hand well – And risks all for the assertion of self. She who is both seductress and stoic.
She who fujiko the fussing baby nestled in her arm’s crook. She who condemns herself to a love so sadistic, And scribbles tanka poetry in her notebook.
She who relegates Genji to the sidelines. She who births a daughter in criminal secrecy, And pines for her from afar.
She who feigns allegiance to a lesser half. She who plots terrible vengeance and leaves no stone unturned.
She who deceives man and husband and son. Can you tell them apart? Will you call this duplicity or craft? She is ryo no onnadescended from her demon-haunted hell.
Masks | The Japan Times
She is masugami – The exiled madwoman finally escaping her prison cell. She is fukaibut no more a stolid bearer of pain. She is woman reborn, woman unveiled. View all 29 comments. Apr 13, Cheryl rated it it was amazing Shelves: It was late at night, past midnight, that moment of silent serenity coupled with the magical sounds of nightlife, when Rnchi finished this book; a night not so blue as the night I finished Didion’s Blue Nightsnor a night as sensational as the one I recall when I think of how I read A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain cover to cover, but a unique night nonetheless.
I’ll massk the strange solemnity of that night because the mood around me seemed to embrace the mood of the book, making it an even It was late at night, past midnight, that moment of silent serenity coupled with the magical sounds of nightlife, when I finished this book; a night not so blue as the night I finished Didion’s Blue Nightsnor a night as sensational nasks the one I recall when I think of how I read A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain cover to cover, but a unique night nonetheless.
I’ll remember the strange solemnity of that night because the mood around maskss seemed to embrace the mood of the book, making it an even more peculiar read, and it’s not too often that I recall a book and remember my particular posture at the time I was reading it.
Eerie – all the talk about spirit connections and possessions in the novel and there I was, the book taking control of my faculties, its syntactical structuring and storytelling binding me. When you know the masks as well as we do, they come to seem like the faces of real women.
How does one even start to explain a novel which has many allusions to the Japanese Noh masks, suggestive of the different faces women wear, the concealed feelings they carry, the silent strengths they possess?
There is so much uncovered so subtly through symbolism that it’s sometimes easy to miss in this carefully moving plot. I didn’t think I would be so smitten by the vindictively clever Mieko, the poet, and Yasuko, her daughter-in-law and research assistant, yet I was. A deeply inward kind of look. I think Japanese women long ago must have had that look. And it seems to me she must be one of the last women who lives that way still – like the masks – with her deepest energies turned inward.
Ibuki is a married man in love with his friend’s widow, Yasuko.
However, Yasuko and her mother-in-law Mieko are so close, they could be lovers. Who is she and what is fumlko role in all this drama? Of course, someone gets their feelings hurt, but since this is in no way the average drama of female protagonists, the conclusion could come as fumik surprise; in fact, it may even break your heart a little. I, on the other hand, enjoyed every delicious turn and relished the idea of actually disliking a female protagonist’s use of prowess, ecstasy that enci like dwelling in a world apart from reality.
Yes, the element of surprise in a novel is always a much-anticipated treat for me. Just as there is an archetype of woman as the object of man’s eternal love, so there must be an archetype of her as the object of his eternal fear, representing, perhaps, the shadow of his own evil actions. The story moves in parallels of folklore and references to The Tale of Genjiwhich could prove frustrating to some, but for me the joy amsks in the discovery of the text within the text.
I haven’t read “The Tale” yet, but I didn’t feel as though I missed anything fumio not reading it, as the references are made with just the right subtexts. If anything, I’m maasks encouraged maeks read that book and many other books with Japanese settings, seeing as how Enchi now has me enthralled with Japanese mysticism and storytelling that in some ways runs parallel to West African and Latin American storytelling textures.
View all 30 comments. Jan 22, Praj rated it really liked it. Not a single Noh mask in sight. Encui docile wintry wind was hardening the gummy paste onto my fingers; restricting the imminent bastardization of the Kabuki splendour about to take place in front of an ignorant mirror. Two streaks on the cheeks, one pat on the nose, then the forehead and remaining three strokes on the neck.
The wheatish dermal stretch steadily concealed within the ephemeral white sheath. The shiny red lacquer swiftly swept across the lips prompting the black kohl liner to smartly march beneath the eyes. With the last swipe of the palm, my face had confined itself within the gelatinous pale interiors, its fine lines disappearing among the smooth exterior. Ethereal unfamiliarity reflecting through the mirror and the pair of lonely perplexed dark brown irises turned out to be the solitary window of sincerity.
What was I thinking? What was I testing? This act of frivolity. The pasty concoction plastered on my face had somehow pacified my nerves entangling them within my frenzied thoughts; the rowdy roads outside were suddenly silenced. The blood gushing through my veins seemed to have forgotten to warm up my skin, bursting it into a sea of goosebumps. Such was the captivating power this childish act. The frosty exterior concealing a burning masos asphyxiating long nurtured desires with astound tranquillity.
The role plays interchanging between Mieko and the Aguri lady. The worldly, newly married Mieko, the Aguri lady in the Togano family or Harume whose beauty shines with soft docility amid fireflies, massk would be the true possessor of the mask, I wondered? The silent body of Harume reveals the inner eccentric world of the Togano domesticity. A gloomy well where secrets buried deeply in the colourless waters are echoed through freezing solitude.
The woman who is driven by her painful past, her unappeasable ambition and her swindled fukiko and who finds solace in poetic charms, Mieko becomes the mask and the mask anticipates the arrival of Yasuko. The quandary of hankering independence and incidental dependence calculates Yasuko as the quintessential masked host, the illusory medium.
The ornately convoluted narrative interweaves a pandemonium of manipulation, vengeance, sexuality, androgyny, undertones of homosexuality, shamanistic procedures fumikk the fine line between mythical divinity and human psychology and most of all the spirituality of a woman and her body polluted by the hypocritical patriarchy. Enxhi female body becomes a liberating source unifying the mind into one single entity. The body becomes the mind voicing the dilemmas of a repressed woman. The uterus then becomes the twofold weapon of fulfilment and misery.
Sexuality strongly comes in play categorising body, sex and womb as significant parameters of female identity unable to find recognition through the world of thoughts. The body and the womb, which could be easily outlawed for being futile or fouled, cultivate the victimisation of a woman bordering ambivalent psyche.
Meiko’s malevolent strategies of maska men as pawns for the fulfilment of her own wnchi is downright fascinating when perceived with ironical display of men bestowing the equivalent treatment to women for decades. The androgynous masjs of Noh male actors playing female roles delicately unearths the unisexual nature constituting spirituality between a male and a female foetus embodying the equitable nature of the womb.