by Natsume Soseki, Meredith McKinney
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Kusamakura by Natsume Soseki

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

Natsume Soseki's Kusamakura—meaning “grass pillow”—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 Soseki'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.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101097557
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/29/2008
Series: Penguin Classics Series
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 176
File size: 209 KB
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Natsume Soseki (1867-1916), one of Japan's most influential modern writers, is widely considered the foremost novelist of the Meiji era (1868-1914) and a master of psychological fiction. As well as his works of fiction, his essays, haiku, and kanshi have been influential and are popular even today. 

Meredith McKinney (translator) holds a PhD in medieval Japanese literature from the University in Canberra, where she teaches in the Japan Centre. She lived and taught in Japan for twenty years and now lives near Braidwood, New South Wales. Her other translations include Ravine and Other Stories, The Tale of Saigyo, and for Penguin Classics, The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon, and Kusamakura.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Kusamakura 2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.