- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Peter Owen; 2nd Revised edition edition (2 May 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0720612977
- ISBN-13: 978-0720612974
- Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.3 x 20.3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 432,543 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Kokoro (UNESCO Collection of Representative Works) Paperback – 2 May 2007
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"A brilliant piece of narrative ... Kokoro is exactly what you would ask a novel to be ... its effect is so fresh, so particular to itself ... There is no more exhilarating experience than this sort of discovery ... Soseki manipulates every detail with the same thrilling mastery." --Spectator
"Sparsely populated, simple but perfect ... it is a melancholy but stoical study in lonliness, guilt and self hatred ... recalls Turgenev both in its economy and perfect symmetry of architecture." --Sunday Telegraph
"Great sensitivity and insight" --Sunday Times
About the Author
NATSUME SOSEKI (1867 1916) is one of the great writers of the modern world. Educated at Tokyo Imperial University, he was sent to England in 1900 as a government scholar. As one of the first Japanese writers to be influenced by Western culture, his various works are read by virtually all Japanese, and contemporary authors in Japan continue to be influenced by his oeuvre. Soseki's significance to Japan can be compared to that of Dickens to Britain or Henry James to North America. Like these writers his work now holds a hugely popular and important place in the literary imagination of his country. Unlike them Soseki's work is only recently coming to the attention of readers outside of Japan.
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Top Customer Reviews
Though he likes him well enough, Sensei does nothing to encourage the young man's growing attachment to him. This only increases the student's interest in Sensei's life, who responds finally to his overtures of friendship and respect thus: 'I do not want your admiration now, because I do not want your insults in the future. I bear with my loneliness now in order to avoid greater loneliness in the years ahead. You see, loneliness is the price we have to pay for being born in this modern age, so full of freedom, independence, and our own egotistical selves'.
The novel is structured in three parts. The first two are narrated by the student, and the third is a 'testament' in letter form by Sensei, outlining the story of his life, and explaining why he has for so long withdrawn from the outside world.
Sensei's testament is a profound self-examination and self-criticism, mostly revolving around his selfish and manipulative actions, in his own student days, when he and his friend (a fellow student) were both in love with the same girl (now Sensei's wife). This behaviour leads, in the end, to catastrophic results for his friend. From that period on, though Sensei has appeared outwardly normal and happy, his life has been completely blighted.
What makes the novel such a significant work for Western readers (other than its literary excellence) is the distinctly Japanese point of view it brings to an old story. This new perspective brings up a large number of worrying (because unanswerable) questions.Read more ›
The characters feel real; their relationship is, though difficult to understand, fascinating; and the book just feels coherent, the final third being particularly fascinating as the culmination of the story. It offers a particularly Japanese view of things, and it is all the more interesting as an examination of the modern world. I find it difficult to explain exactly why I like this book, but it deserves its place in the canon of great Japanese literature.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A strange atmospheric book which describes a friendship between an older and a younger man. The book evolves with their friendship but it is never clear what the older man gets... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Patrick McParland
This is the work of a genius. I could sense it after the first page (this translation, McClellan, is humiliatingly better than the Penguin edition, so you know). Read morePublished 9 months ago by Bookgasmic
A totally differnt read for me. I FOUND GHEEND DISSAPO
This book was a vefh diffefnt read for me. Although I did enjoy the book.Found the end disappointing.
I really enjoy some of the books by Japanese authors. They have a gentleness of expression that draws you in. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Kirsty-Mac