I suppose I must have read about this book and added to my list at the DC Public Library system because of the Japanese mystery novel rabbit hole I fell down. However, this is not a mystery. I’m not sure what it is, to be honest.
There is a narrator, who talks about ‘we,’ but about 85% of the way through, it occurred to me to ask: who is this person? It’s hard to see who it could be.
Which leads back to the central theme, which is a certain voyeurdom. The narrator is a voyeur onto this wealthy Japanese household. Specifically, onto the maids. The events and descriptions are not particularly erotic nor lascivious (indeed, most of the maids are described as being relatively plain-looking, country girls), but their is an erotic frisson within the nature of his deep dive into some thirty years worth of maids who came in and out of this particular household.
Perhaps if I were better versed in the history and culture of middle 20th century Japan, I could also see some issues of class and bourgeois culture in there, but in the end, it all feels like a bit of a mystery.