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Grass on the wayside (Michikusa) (Japanese) Paperback – 1 Jan 2000

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Paperback, 1 Jan 2000

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Product details

  • Paperback: 169 pages
  • Publisher: Tuttle Publishing; 1st, seventh printing edition (1 Jan. 2000)
  • Language: Japanese
  • ISBN-10: 4805302585
  • ISBN-13: 978-4805302583
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 13 x 20.3 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 701,521 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3 reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
"I am a Rat " 20 April 2001
By Bob Newman - Published on
Format: Paperback
If you aren't familiar with the life of Natsume Soseki (and how many non-Japanese are ?), you could be forgiven for not realizing that this is an autobiographical novel. The introductory notes in my edition told me so, that's how I found out. With this information, you will soon understand that the author was an unsparing critic of himself. Pessimistic, dark and revealing of his most selfish behavior, GRASS ON THE WAYSIDE tunnels through the underground emotions and suppressed angers of the author's penurious life. Soseki's view of marriage and family ties is extremely bleak. "People didn't really change very much, he thought, they only decayed." (p.112) He certainly included himself. Apparently he took no pleasure in any human relationship. The people who inhabit these pages are constantly sick and poor, but receive little to no sympathy or love from those closest to them. Like most of Soseki's novels, this one explores a certain palette of emotional colors, none of them bright. Unlike others, GRASS ON THE WAYSIDE has more activity, more characters described in greater detail, and rather than being smooth like "Sanshiro", "Kokoro" or "The Three-Cornered World", it has a certain uneven rhythm or start-stop quality in its 102 chapters. I feel this originates in the fact that it was serialized in the Tokyo daily `Asahi Shimbun' when it first appeared.
"Activity" is a relative word. For most of the novel, Kenzo, the protagonist, wrestles with the dilemma of how to avoid the requests for money of a former foster father and that man's estranged wife. As he struggles to escape the onerous demands of a man he feels he owes nothing, we meet Kenzo's brother and sister, their spouses, and his wife and her relatives. A few other characters also appear. Soseki still prefers introspective analysis to action in the Western sense. Kenzo does not act on his problem until Chapter 90. His decision is nearly coincidental with the birth of his third child. At the end, he muses, "Hardly anything in this life is settled. Things that happened once will go on happening. But they come back in different guises and that's what fools us." If definite endings and complicated plots are your love, better skip this book. GRASS ON THE WAYSIDE is a typically Japanese novel by a Meiji period author, slow, indefinite, psychologically complex, and in this case autobiographical. I happen to admire Natsume Soseki greatly, but I concede that he might not be to everyone's taste.
Holden Caulfield turning Japanese 29 Aug. 2014
By Dwight - Published on
Format: Paperback

Having no one who ever went to college to advise me, I cluelessly signed up for a two credit course to get my money's worth of paying full time tuition.

I didn't much care for Catcher in the Rye either but at least it was short and easy to zip through.

Since this was an English translation - I would say the best way to describe this is reading about ice freezing.

Perhaps Hoover's men managed to survive the tedium and fashioned Rivers Cuomo after this book.
2 of 17 people found the following review helpful
this book is so neat! 2 Feb. 1998
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
The writer is tubercular and has a hard time making ends meet, especially since he can't say no to family members. He bickers with his wife (poor wife!) and tires himself out writing novels that get spiked.
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