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on 14 April 2010
This book is in essence a beautiful reflection on living through your early 20's in new surroundings experiencing things for the first time. Sanshiro, a naive recent college graduate from rural Japan, has just enrolled at Tokyo University and the story begins with him travelling by train to Tokyo, where he will learn how the world can be so different compared to his sleepy country home.

A twist on the classic coming of age novel this book reminded me of Murakami's Norwegian Wood with it's easy references to first love and stream of consciousness narrative style. Indeed the introduction written by Murakami would indicate that he did in fact borrow from Sanshiro when dreaming up his own novel.

The Japanese writing style is prominent in this novel, an easy going plot, interactions on a personally emotional level for the main characters and realisation of the beauty of simple everyday things. The events that transpire can seem a little dated to western culture but the underlying motives still hold true today even though the book was written in the early 20th century.

If you liked Norwegian Wood or A Catcher in the Rye, Sanshiro won't let you down.
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on 17 April 2013
Loved this book. I was transported to another era every time I picked it up. It was almost hard to rejoin reality afterwards!
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on 13 February 2013
Sanshiro is a tale of the social learnings of latest teenager-hood/earliest adulthood. Subtle, innocent and honest. Like real life Sanshiro ends on a sour note as our protagonist tries to deal with that most unfathomable of enigmas: The Opposite Sex!
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on 23 September 2013
Similar tones to Murakami. Although over 100 years old, it could almost have been written yesterday. Deep likeable characters. Highly recommended to anyone appreciative of Japanese litterature.
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on 16 October 2010
A rather middling and unsatisfying novel by the usually brilliant Soseki. The opening scene on the train is excellent but thereafter the novel fails to evolve, rather like its main character. Sanshiro is an appealing main character but he is constantly held back by his timid and inexperienced nature. Because of Sanshiro's timidity he does not chase the object of his desire, denying us a great store of drama; his inexperience means that he rarely questions the world around him and rather just floats through it all, like the clouds referred to in the story.

Admittedly this novel takes place over a short space of time but Soseki's decision not to push his lead forward means that the novel never develops into what it could. Well written but ultimately slightly unsatisfying.
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on 27 June 2012
Being a literature student, reading a book like Sanshiro which is from another country and society seemed exceedingly interesting and an exciting opportunity. Sanshiro in some respects is indeed a subtle study of love and growing up. This is explored throughout Sanshiro through a young, male student from whom the book gets it name. This character though often funny in his awkwardness and inexperience seems, in my opinion, to lack the confidence to actually do anything. This is where problems (for me) begin to develop in this book. This awkwardness hinders Sanshiro in that throughout the book, he actually doesn't do anything. Eventually leading to a *spoiler* dull and only partially sad ending of unrequited love. This almost dull tone continues as a pre-requesit throughout the book and after reading the 220 or so pages, I began to wonder what had actually happened and in short, not much.
Sanshiro is interesting to say the least and I can see how Japanese people can consider it a classic. Indeed possibly my favourite aspect of the book is how Natsume Soseki can develop and easily set atmospheres and creatively establish tones. I personally feel that when reviewing Sanshiro, it depends on the context in which you look at it. If you want a classical book about love and romance, I can always suggest Romeo and Julliet but Sanshiro instead offers an interesting outlook on Japanese culture of which, it is the best of the kind.
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