The Bridge of Dreams is a collection of short stories by Tanizaki’s hand, released by Dutch publisher De Bezige Bij in 2017. The book starts off with a very broad prologue describing Tanizaki and part of his life (1886-1965), with information about his youth and life while growing up. It’s very interesting and a great addition to the book, it gives you the possibility to step into his world of thoughts and understand where he might have been coming from with his remarkable way of writing stories. After that, you’ll be thrown into the deep immediately with a great story that will definitely show you that this book is worth to keep reading and hard to put aside.
Because it’s about short stories, it’s a challenge to write something concrete without spoiling too much of the content of the book. While reading I found myself in a world that was realistic but with many things that leave food for thought. Something all of the stories have is the art of absorbing you, and taking you on a trip into the special trail of thoughts and human behaviour of people choosing to live in whichever way they would want, or like or even already are. This is why I think the title ‘Bridge of Dreams’ is very fitting.
Without giving away too much from either of the stories, there is one apparent thing I noticed. All of the stories are depicting an image, be it from Tanizaki’s personal perspective, or when he’s telling someone else’s story, it’s always about one person or multiple people that are trying to achieve something. Sometimes their goal is clear and at times there’s no clear goal at all. A dream. The stories all show you something about a certain dream world, a real bridge of dreams.
The subjects that Tanizaki uses in his stories vary from interest in culinary food and art to a search for one’s own identity and a place to call home. There is enough to grab on to if you enjoy stories that aren’t very standard in comparison to those that you might find in your regular novel or story collection. Not only are they captivating and able to touch your heart, but they also aren’t just over. Sometimes his writing gave me the idea I was going towards the end but then to my surprise that wasn’t it.
Prior to reading this book, I wrote a review of the play The Key 3 years ago. It was a captivating and beautiful piece that is also featured in an article here on AVO Magazine (In Dutch). Are you interested in classic, beautiful story writing with a twist, in that case, I strongly recommend to open this book and get carried away by the nice tellings of Jun’ichi Tanizaki.
Author: Jun’ichi Tanizaki
Language: Dutch (translated)
Number of pages: 640 pages
The review was written after reading the Dutch version of The Bridge of Dreams, titled De brug der dromen. A part of the stories in the Dutch translation can be found in Seven Japanese Tales.