Masks by Fumiko Enchi, translated by Juliet Winters Carpenter / ISBN 9780394722184 / 140-page paperback from Vintage International
“A subtle examination of universal female behavior.” —People
“[Enchi’s] allusions to the masks of Nō plays and to the classic The Tale of Genji, the brilliant way she layers and interweaves the ancient, the more recent past and the present are haunting and rich. A fictional enchantment.” —Publishers Weekly
“Enchi’s writing has some of the same amniotic fluidity as Tolstoy’s, an almost bodily, floating immersion into the effortless habitat of the story.” —The American Reader
“Clear and powerful. . . . Almost imperceptively woven.” —Kirkus
Following the death of her son, Mieko Toganō takes an increasing interest in the personal affairs of her widowed daughter-in-law, Yasuko. Devastated by her loss, she skillfully manipulates the relationships between Yasuko and the two men who are in love with her, encouraging a dalliance that will have terrible consequences. Meanwhile, hidden in the shadows, is Mieko’s mentally-handicapped daughter, who has her own role to play in her mother’s bizarre schemes. In Masks, Enchi has crafted a stunning and understated novel of seduction and infidelity.