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Kusamakura

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Overview

A stunning new translation-the first in more than forty years-of a major novel by the father of modern Japanese fiction

Natsume Sōseki's Kusamakura follows its nameless young artist-narrator on a meandering walking tour of the mountains. At the inn at a hot spring resort, he has a series of mysterious encounters with Nami, the lovely young daughter of the establishment. Nami, or "beauty," is the center of this elegant novel, the still point around which the artist moves and the ...

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Kusamakura

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Overview

A stunning new translation-the first in more than forty years-of a major novel by the father of modern Japanese fiction

Natsume Sōseki's Kusamakura follows its nameless young artist-narrator on a meandering walking tour of the mountains. At the inn at a hot spring resort, he has a series of mysterious encounters with Nami, the lovely young daughter of the establishment. Nami, or "beauty," is the center of this elegant novel, the still point around which the artist moves and the enigmatic subject of Sōseki's word painting. In the author's words, Kusamakura is "a haiku-style novel, that lives through beauty." Written at a time when Japan was opening its doors to the rest of the world, Kusamakura turns inward, to the pristine mountain idyll and the taciturn lyricism of its courtship scenes, enshrining the essence of old Japan in a work of enchanting literary nostalgia.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143105190
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/29/2008
  • Series: Penguin Classics Series
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 422,258
  • Lexile: 1110L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.11 (w) x 7.80 (h) x 0.49 (d)

Meet the Author

Natsume Soseki (1867-1916) is widely considered the foremost novelist of the Meiji era (1868-1914).
Meredith McKinney is the translator of the Penguin Classics edition of The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon. She teaches in the Japan Centre at the Australian National University.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2008

    Beautiful prose, but aggravating protagonist

    Set in a remote seaside mountain village, Kusamakura ''grass pillow', an idom for travel', follows an artist of the Meiji period as he seeks artistic inspiration far from his city life. Despite isolated portions of beautiful prose and imagery, as well as a few haunting encounters with a mysterious and captivating woman, this novel ultimately disappoints because its unnamed narrator is a pompous, pretentious and condescending individual who is quick to label things vulgar and deals with people in what he proudly calls a 'nonemotional' way -- in other words, having no real, meaningful interactions with them. This is easy to overlook at times, but as the novel nears its conclusion it gets more and more aggravating. I'd try another of Soseki's works instead, especially if you've never read anything by him before.

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