Kokoro: A novel (Library of Japanese literature) Unknown Binding – 1969
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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third is a 'testament' in letter form by Sensei, outlining the story of his life, and explaining why he has for so long withdrawn from the outside world.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 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 11 months ago by Kirsty-Mac
Similar in style to Haruki Murakami, not one to cheer you up, but a deep study of inner human turmoil.Published 12 months ago by Lionel
This starts out as deceptively simple.
K complicates things by introducing dissatisfaction and jealousy into the story.
Man is a useless passion.
This is so disappointing. One of the great Japanese novels of the Twentieth Century. Why? I cannot see it. Read morePublished 17 months ago by robert
Coldly played out, a strangely unmoving story of hero worship, love, betrayal and regret.Published 18 months ago by Mr. S. N. Lumb