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The Tower of London: And Other Stories Paperback – 12 Oct 2004

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Peter Owen Ltd (12 Oct. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0720612349
  • ISBN-13: 978-0720612349
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.3 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 864,372 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

We know little about the literary baggage that informs Japanese preconceptions of Britain. It is rather a shock to discover that the most familiar and most compelling is a vision of Victorian London at the turn of the 20th century by a young Japanese scholar, one of Japan s most famous modern writers, who lived for two years in boarding houses and met almost no one. The Dickensian London he brilliantly describes is so close to virtual reality that in one short story Soseki himself meets Sherlock Holmes. --The Times<br /><br />'Scrupulously and enthusiastically introduced and annotated.' --Anthony Thwaite, Sunday Telegraph<br /><br />What makes this collection so fascinating is that Soseki viewed England as much from the viewpoint of an anthropologist as from that of a creative writer. . . one is never in doubt that one is in the presence of greatness. The translator, Damian Flanagan, has provided an excellent introduction and ample notes. I have always thought that of all English novelists it is E.M. Forster that Soseki most resembles. Flanagan, whether deliberately or not, catches Forster s authorial tone with uncanny accuracy. --Spectator<br /><br />'The translator, Damian Flanagan, has provided an excellent introduction and ample notes. I have always thought that of all English novelists is is E.M. Forster that Soseki most resembles. Flanagan, whether deliberately or not, catches Forster's authorial tone with uncanny accuracy.' --Francis King, The Spectator<br /><br />What makes this collection so fascinating is that Soseki viewed England as much from the viewpoint of an anthropologist as from that of a creative writer. . . one is never in doubt that one is in the presence of greatness. The translator, Damian Flanagan, has provided an excellent introduction and ample notes. I have always thought that of all English novelists it is E.M. Forster that Soseki most resembles. Flanagan, whether deliberately or not, catches Forster s authorial tone with uncanny accuracy. --Spectator

The greatest Japanese novelist of the modern period. --Sunday Telegraph

An extraordinarily varied and accomplished writer. --Observer

About the Author

NATSUME SOSEKI (1867 - 1916) is Japan s most revered author, whose works continue to attract vast quantities of critical scrutiny and debate. His influence, both on contemporary Japanese authors and throughout East Asia and beyond, has been immense.


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Format: Paperback
I came accross this book after having read a diverse range of Japanese fiction previously, I am also interested in the mysterious areas of London so this seemed like a good choice.
From the small extracts scattered through these pages I find it strange that Soseki is virtually unknown in the West. Obviously there will be some elements lost in translation but its not difficult to see why he is so highly regarded in Japan.
Soseki spent two years in London studying English Literature, this book is a compendium of various writing and letters he completed during and after his stay. Lack of social contact and his obvious alienation in a land unused to Japanese led to some wonderful work. Seeing turn of the century London through the eyes of such a gifted writer is compelling and rewarding in equal measure. The descriptions are infused with a deep fascination for history, I cannot remember reading something which captures space and time in such a unique way.
I look forward to reading some fiction from Soseki and hopefully we will be able to find him on more bookshop shelves in England.
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Format: Paperback
This is not really a collection of short stories in the conventional sense. The first part is a memoir of Soseki's time in London. The whole book is a miscellany of writings over Soseki's life that relate to England.

I got the book after Murakami claimed Soseki was Japan's greatest writer of short stories (incidentally in an introduction to Akutagawa's Rashomon, which is a MUST READ for the first two stories alone and which form the basis for the acclaimed film Rashomon)

'The Tower' is very good writing - and historically fascinating - but not quite what I was expecting. However, I did receive this gem of wisdom, which could apply to so much in life: never visit the Tower of London more than once ... repeated visits can only be disappointing. Actually, this advice could apply to this book; I think I will have to find something else to read by Soseki.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Tower of London 17 Aug. 2013
By rabbit - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought it for my husband on his Birthday. He was very surprised to read about his country from the perspective of one of the most famous novelists in the Meiji period.
He read it immediately and he was very glad to read this book.
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