The Siren's Lament

The Siren's Lament Essential Stories - Essential Stories

Short stories

Paperback (28 Sep 2023)

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Publisher's Synopsis

Lavishly opulent stories of sensual obsession, cultural heritage, and mythological creatures-translated into English for the first time-from a classic Japanese writer

Featuring "The Qilin," "The Siren's Lament," and the novella Killing O-Tsuya, this gorgeous new edition of 3 classic works translated by Bryan Karetnyk distills the essence of Jun'ichiro Tanizaki's shorter fiction: the co-mingling of Japanese and Chinese mythologies, the chillingly dark side of desire, and the paper-thin line between the sublime and the depraved.


  • "The Qilin": The sage Confucius travels to a kingdom ruled by a struggling duke, whose pursuit of virtue is threatened by his consort's obsession desire for pleasure.
  • Killing O-Tsuya: A naïve servant elopes with his master's daughter, only to be plunged headlong into a world of murder and corruption.
  • "The Siren's Lament": Exhausted by a lifestyle of never-ending debauchery, a young prince finds himself in possession of a dazzling, beguiling mermaid.

The essential short works of one of the most important and widely-read figured in modern Japanese literature, author of hugely popular works including In Praise of Shadows, The Makioka Sisters, and Naomi; renowned for his investigations of family dynamics, eroticism, and cultural identity.

Book information

ISBN: 9781782278092
Publisher: Steerforth Press
Imprint: Pushkin Press
Pub date:
Edition: Short stories
DEWEY: 895.6344
DEWEY edition: 23
Language: English
Number of pages: 192
Weight: 176g
Height: 121mm
Width: 164mm
Spine width: 18mm