Kusamakura (Penguin Classics) and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more

Buy New

or
Sign in to turn on 1-Click ordering.
Buy Used
Used - Good See details
Price: £6.56

or
 
   
More Buying Choices
Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Colour:
Image not available

 
Start reading Kusamakura (Penguin Classics) on your Kindle in under a minute.

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

Kusamakura (Penguin Classics) [Paperback]

Natsume Soseki , Meredith McKinney
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: £8.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
Only 5 left in stock (more on the way).
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
Want it tomorrow, 22 Sep.? Choose Express delivery at checkout. Details

Formats

Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition £7.13  
Paperback £8.99  

Book Description

31 July 2008 Penguin Classics
Literally meaning 'Pillow of Grass', Kusamakura is Soseki's portrayal of an artist who opposes convention and logic, and shuns emotional involvement. Soseki's artist attempts to live as a hermit using other people as his stimuli for his sensations and reflections. The artist fluently and prolifically composes poetry, but finds himself unable to paint - despite befriending a beautiful young divorcee. He remains emotionally distanced from her for a long time and it is only one day when he sees compassion in her eyes that he finds himself able to paint her, but also reconnected with the emotional undercurrents he had hitherto tried to avoid, thereby ending his retreat from the world. Siseko's beautiful and haikuesque novel is infused with his own musings on art and nature, and helped to establish the novel as a major literary form in Japan.

Frequently Bought Together

Kusamakura (Penguin Classics) + Sanshiro (Penguin Classics) + Botchan (Penguin Classics)
Price For All Three: £23.27

Buy the selected items together


Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (31 July 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143105191
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143105190
  • Product Dimensions: 17.9 x 14.1 x 1.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 278,891 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Product Description

About the Author

Natsume Soseki (1867-1916) is one of the best-known Japanese authors of the 20th century and considered as the master of psychological fiction. As well as his works of fiction, his essays, haiku, and kanshi have been influential and are popular even today.

Meredith McKinney holds a PhD in medieval Japanese literature from the University in Canberra, where she teaches in the Japan Centre. Her other translations include Ravine and Other Stories, The Tale of Saigyo, and for Penguin Classics, The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon.


Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?


Customer Reviews

4 star
0
3 star
0
1 star
0
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Midspring Night's Dream 8 Mar 2008
Format:Paperback
"Kusamakura" is surely one of the oddest novels of the twentieth century. A very early work by Natsume Soseki, it's a pioneering one-shot experiment with what the author himself called a "Haiku novel" years before Kawabata Yasunari got the credit for such with his Palm-of-the-Hand Stories. A novel without a plot, where nothing of note really happens, and yet it's an endlessly engaging tale. Or is it a philosophical treatise on aesthetics narrated in the form of a story? Breathtakingly ethereal one moment, it's humourously crass the next. In genre, it's a heady fusion of the Western novel and the Eastern poem equally at home with Percy Shelley and Yosa Buson, John Millais and Katsushika Hokusai, Oscar Wilde and the Tales of Ise, Christ and Bodhidharma. Staunchly nostalgic and even a tad traditionalist in an age when such things were being pell-mell thrown along the wayside, and yet modernist about a decade or so before its time--arguably ever bit as experimental as Joyce's "Ulysses" in many ways and yet a hundred times more readable and, yes, enjoyable. Indeed, everything I've said up to now may make "Kusamakura" seem rather portentous, but as a work of literature it's utterly unpretentious and approachable.

Meredith McKinney's new translation here is nothing less than excellent. Unpretentious as it is, "Kusamakura" is nowadays something of a hard nut to crack linguistically speaking, filled as it is with deliberate archaisms on the one hand and nonstandard colloquialisms on the other (among other slight puzzlers now obscure in contemporary printed Japanese), and yet McKinney handles Soseki's many voices and sometimes elliptical narration with a surefire grasp of the language and manages to convey the same in highly fluent and idiomatic English.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Failed Experiment? 14 July 2011
By DRFP
Format:Paperback
A rather dull and turgid novel by the usually excellent Soseki. After the dashing nature of both "Botchan" and "I Am A Cat", "Kusamakura / The Three Cornered World" marks an abrupt change of direction. Gone is the zip and lightness of touch of his previous works and instead we have a glacial and quite Romantic (note the capital letter) book.

I can't shake the feeling that this is novel that ought to be a piece of non-fiction. So much attention (a vast majority of the book) is devoted to ruminations on nature and art, be it painting, poetry or music, that it gets in the way of the minor story within the novel. It reminded me of the many asides that Dostoevsky inserts into his novels, which likewise neglect the plot and cast of characters [I hope criticism of Dostoevsky doesn't mark me down as a reviewer to be distruted!]. I have no problem with this type of discourse but in any instance where such pondering takes up a significant amount of space I do wish the author had stuck it in a separate essay.

I sympathise a little with Soseki for all this. I do like how this novel is different from the other few of his I have read. Its meditative focus on art and nature is initially beguiling; but it goes on too long and gets in the way of the characters and their tale. Call me old fashioned but I think that's the heart of any novel. I also understand that this way of thinking is the nature of the main character but I still believe Soseki gets the balance wrong. I don't mind the fact that very little takes place during this story - "Sanshiro" is similar in that respect but that novel, even if not my favourite Soseki story, still had the author's deft prose to keep everything feeling light and breezy.

I simply found this novel hard to like.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
45 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Midspring Night's Dream 5 Mar 2008
By Crazy Fox - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"Kusamakura" is surely one of the weirdest novels of the twentieth century. A very early work by Natsume Soseki, who would go on to be one of Japan's foremost novelists, it's a pioneering one-shot experiment with what the author himself called a "Haiku novel" years before Kawabata Yasunari got the credit for such with his Palm-of-the-Hand Stories. A novel without a plot, where nothing of note really happens, and yet it's an endlessly engaging tale. Or is it a philosophical treatise on aesthetics narrated in the form of a story? Breathtakingly ethereal one moment, it's hilariously crass the next. In genre, it's a heady fusion of the Western novel and the Eastern poem equally at home with Percy Shelley and Yosa Buson, John Millais and Katsushika Hokusai, Oscar Wilde and the Tales of Ise, Christ and Bodhidharma. Staunchly nostalgic and even a tad traditionalist in an age when such things were being pell-mell thrown along the wayside, and yet modernist about a decade or so before its time--arguably ever bit as experimental as Joyce's "Ulysses" in many ways and yet a hundred times more readable and, yes, enjoyable. Indeed, everything I've said up to now may make "Kusamakura" seem rather portentous, but as a work of literature it's utterly unpretentious and approachable. It also so happens, as you may have guessed, to be one of my all time personal favorites.

Which is why nobody could be more thrilled to see "Kusamakura" newly translated and published by Penguin--the folks who have been making classics approachable for decades. Meredith McKinney's new translation here is nothing less than excellent. Unpretentious as it is, "Kusamakura" is nowadays something of a hard nut to crack linguistically speaking, filled as it is with deliberate archaisms of an ornate nature on the one hand and cockney-esque colloquialisms on the other (among other slight puzzlers now obscure in contemporary printed Japanese) and yet McKinney handles Soseki's many voices and sometimes elliptical narration with a surefire grasp of the language and manages to convey the same in highly fluent and idiomatic English. It's carefully accurate and true to the original and yet makes itself at home in its new language to a degree that seems natural and easy but must in fact have entailed much hard work and scholarly care. This edition is also judiciously supplemented with unobtrusive but helpful endnotes following up on Soseki's principal references, and the introduction does a fine job of adequately situating this idiosyncratic classic in the context of Soseki's larger opus and of contextualizing both within the larger framework of Japanese literature and history at the turn of the (last) century without unduly overburdening the book.

In short, this is a wonderful edition of a wonderful book--totally flawless. Okay, not totally; when you first open the book and glance at the half-title page, you'll see in the little blurb the dates for the Meiji period incorrectly given as 1868-1914 instead of 1868-1912. That little nitpick aside, though, this fine book is going to be the definitive edition of Natsume Soseki's early masterpiece for decades to come. Even if you've already read this novel in its previous English version (available in a number of printings, including The Three-Cornered World (Peter Owen Modern Classic) and Three Corner World (Unesco Collection of Representative Works. Japanese Series.)), I highly recommend this new and vastly improved one. And if you've never come across "Kusamakura" before at all, well then, the open road to the deep south awaits you, grass pillow and all!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kusamakura 9 July 2013
By Margareta Boege - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As he turns thirty a man goes to a village in the mountains and thinks about art, tries to find his own identity among the western and the traditional (japanese and chinese) ways of creating art and looking at the world, describes the nature that surrounds him and the few people that live there.

Kusamakura is very poetical. I wish I could read japanese, but even in transation the words flow beautifully and you can sense the changes in tone, and you find yourself in a magical world. I particulary remember a scene where he is observing the girl, how he describes her and thinks about if beauty is better described as still or in movement. He tries to paint her but something is missing. And then there is the last scene...

Of course not everyone will like it (but this is true of every book) so I tried to tell you why I do (I am sorry if I can not be more elocuent but my english is not very good). If you like books with a lot of action, or if the subjects I mentioned above do not interest you, this book is not for you. But it is not true that you have to know a lot to enjoy this book, I myself do not know much and I loved it.
1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A hard book to get into if you do not like reading flowery details and do know old pop culture. 7 Jan 2013
By ilovetomatoes - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you are knowledgeable about old pop culture (Japanese and European) and know all about Soseki's work, then go ahead and buy this book. Do not bother with reading my review. I am reaching out to unsuspecting readers who will have to buy this book for their Japanese literature class. This is the most boring book I have ever read. The only parts you will like in this book is the dialogue between the characters (because they are very humorous, especially the conversation between the barber and the narrator). However, there are very few of them. The book consist of details after details of what the narrator sees and how he feels about it. He will make constant (old) pop culture references to these images. If you are curious as to how old these pop culture references are then see Crazy Fox's review. If you are into that kind of stuff then, please by all means, enjoy the book. Other than that, I guarantee the only parts worth reading is the dialogues and the last chapter.
Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
Topic:
First post:
Prompts for sign-in
 

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions
   


Look for similar items by category


Feedback