L'oca selvatica
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L'oca selvatica

3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  475 ratings  ·  35 reviews
L’oca selvatica (1915), tuttora uno dei libri più amati dello scrittore, narra la storia di Otama, la "ragazza alla finestra", e del suo amore impossibile per il giovane Okada. Romanzo rivolto con sguardo nostalgico verso un sogno di giovinezza e di illusioni perdute, spicca per la sapienza dell’impianto narrativo e il tratto sicuro nel delineare i personaggi in un’opera l...more
Paperback, 197 pages
Published February 1994 by Marsilio (first published 1911)
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3.5 stars

It was a nice, simple read. I wish the storyline had been developed a little bit more thoroughly and I didn’t like the ambiguity of the ending. Books like this always surprise me, how women can be used as pawns. In this case, a young girl has been chosen by a well-off Japanese man to be his mistress. She accepts the role because she wants to support her aging father. It was all very sad to me, to be honest. What was interesting was her development when she realized her role and how she...more
The events of my story took place some time ago—in 1880, the thirteenth year of the Meiji era, to be exact.

At the start of this short novel, the narrator described his friendship with a handsome student named Okada. Okada often walked the streets of Muenzaka in the evening and one time he happened upon a beautiful young woman living in a house in a silent neighborhood. Through his regular walks he had become acquainted with her, even if "the appearance of the house and the way the woman dressed...more
SECOND REVIEW [August 18, 2014]
I think Ogai Mori's avid readers should read this novel's review by Roger Pulvers as informed in my private notes above since it is so informative, authoritative and reader-friendly that they should read its new translation as soon as possible. So would I when I can find a copy.

After my second reading, its nostalgic theme has still lingered on due to their hopelessly unfruitful love between Otama the young lady and Okada the student; Otada's decision to become Suez...more
Gertrude & Victoria
Mori Ogai, one of the first great modern writers in Japan, displays his command of the narrative with his ever popular The Wild Geese. This story is an enduringly sad story of unrealized love. The theme is one that is all too common and easily understood, which makes it so appealing to the contemporary, non-Japanese reader.

The heroine, Otama, is forced by her wretched conditions to become the mistress - a play thing for some scoundrel of a man - a shallow and cold-hearted moneymongering usurer....more
D. Biswas
I love small books, novellas....I can read them at a setting and take in an entire story. With the classic The Wild Geese by Ogai Mori, written in such an old style, which must have lost so much in translation...I took several sittings.

Not because it was a difficult read, quite the contrary. But I wanted to savor the book's very Japanese and also very old-world charm, celebrate each sentence and scene for all its worth.

Wikipedia provides an interesting synopsis:

Suezo, a moneylender, is tired of...more
It's the Meiji Period's answer to "Lost in Translation".

I'm so right about this. If Sofia Coppola is on goodreads, someone needs to see if "The Wild Geese" is "read". I bet it's even on her "made-a-movie-about-it" shelf.


The stories: She's feeling lost and alone, doing the right thing for her [father / husband], and yet feeling that there's more to life than this. Why did she [become this rich man's mistress / marry this photographer]?

"What does she do?"...more
Sachiko Ishikawa
"Gan (The Wild Geese)" is a novel filled with metaphors, symbolism and slow and quiet reflection. Us readers are nowadays used to fast-paced books and even rhythmic pacing, but --to me-- this book has been a wonderful respite from neckbreaking-speed narratives. Some readers might get impatient with the main characters, Otama and Okada, might grow exasperated with their endless musings, and what they are expected to do might happen either very late or even not at all.

Maybe I haven't searched for...more
Finlay Lloyd publish beautiful books, and The Wild Goose by Mori Õgai is no exception. It’s a new translation of an early modern Japanese text, its origins captured in the cover design by Phil Day of Mountains Brown Press, and the same design on elegant paper leaves separates the novella from the introduction. Paradoxically, the book feels both delicate and sturdy in the hand, because while the texture of the boards feels like very expensive paper under the fingers, you know that the book is not...more
This was quite the interesting novel. I was, at first, put off by the revolving chapters around Okada (a college student who was seen as an exemplary model to follow in the dorm he lived in), Suezo (a moneylender), Otama (Suezo’s beautiful mistress), and an unnamed narrator who was a friend of Okada’s but in the end I found it a great way to provide insight and perspective on how the tale was unraveling. It starts in the present, goes back to the past and leads the reader through the events that...more
Nick Ziegler
Donald Richie's blurb on the back of my edition calls The Wild Goose "strange" and "captivating." These are appropriate adjectives.

The strangeness resides in the novel's form. Our narrator leads us initially to believe this will be a story about his friend Okada, until a few pages in we are told that to appreciate the story about Okada, we must understand the history of the woman on Muenzaka street who had begun to captivate him. For this reason, our narrator will "relate it briefly here." This...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
As with many Japanese novels, The Wild Geese is as much about what is not made explicit as what is. In this case, the story centers on unrequited love (and its mirror reverse, engendered deceit): between a moneylender, Suezo, and his kept girl, Otama; between Otama and a local university student; and, somewhat oddly, between Otama and her father. Where there is the implication of a relationship, it is done cleverly enough as to make you question the truth of it. As with many modern films from Ja...more
Amanda Clarissa
I had the chance to read this book on a classic Japanese literature class and immediately fell in love. It's a short book and the story develops very slowly, with a lot of deep metaphors and symbolism. My teacher said that there is a lot more hidden symbolism in the original Japanese version. Ogai was very detailed in writing each scene in this book so the reader feels like they're really there, watching the conflict between characters.

If there's one thing that I find unsatisfying (but not nece...more
Meghan Fidler
While The Wild Geese reflects the changing lifestyles occurring in the emerging Meiji Tokyo, the interactions between people were as frustrating for me as Otama must have been, alone, in her little kept home. The book has many plot lines common marriage- and perhaps marriage in Japan- a man, Suezo, who makes his money by lending it to others, describes his current wife in negative terms, which provides justification for him take a mistress. This move ends up making everyone involved (even more?)...more
I had to read this for my Japanese Film and Fiction course. I liked it, and I didn't tire of reading it either. I almost read the whole thing without ever getting up from my spot. Some of the characters had annoying traits - but that's to be expected since they're human. From what one can gather, this story is loosely based on the author's own personal experiences. And like a lot of Japanese classics, this doesn't truly have much of an ending - I was expecting more to this. A lot of questions un...more
James Grinwis
A comparative lit class would find lots to talk about comparing this classic of modern Japanese fiction and Kate Chopin's The Awakening.

Jay McNair
A story about a mistress in 1880s Japan. The simplicity of the prose is refreshing and relaxing, like taking off a tie at the end of the day. The structure is careful and patient. I love the shifts in perspective so that what we think is a straightforward first-person narrative takes in many more points of view as the narrator quietly fades away from and back into the scene. And I like the subtlety of the title, the lateness of its impact.
Joe Meservy
The book is actually titled "The Wild Goose" in some translations. Ideally this works with the theme "a wild goose chase". This is a tragic story but one of the better Japanese tragedies I have written. Ogai was translating the Danish novel The Doll House while reading it and that may be why it does give readers a sense for the power and worth of women more than some other books from this period.
Anna Dal Pont
Review coming soon.
Loren Dushku
Non pensavo che un libro del genere mi sarebbe piaciuto, devo dire che l'autore ha fatto un ottimo lavoro con i personaggi. Qui c'è tutto, un minimo di romance, descrizioni del paesaggio di Tokyo, riferimenti alla situazione storica del periodo e il rispecchiarsi delle idee e della vita dell'autore nel protagonista. Davvero un ottimo racconto, scorrevole e consigliatissimo.
Apr 06, 2007 Katherine rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
The book is set about a hundred years ago in Japan. It's moving without being overly sentimental. It tells a story revolving around a moneylender who forces a young woman into being his mistress, but don't worry, it's not as depressing as it sounds. Great characters. It's a short, fast read, and I highly recommend it.
Difficult to stay with the language. Writing was formal as is a lot of Japanese literature. Not knowing the overall political and cultural history was a deterrent but I am glad to have read something so far outside of my usual menu.
i nearly remember all the lines in this book. this was my final assessment for my bachelor degree in japanese studies. a story about a life of a japanese woman who is a mistress who has a desire for a young man who is a free educated person. she is longing for this man to resuce her from her sad life.
Ly Arsenal
Nhẹ nhàng, khoan thai, nhưng lại lắng đọng. Có cảm giác như mình đang thực sự nhìn thấy khung cảnh ấy, con người ấy, chứ không phải là qua một câu chuyện kể.

Ba con người ba mảng sáng tối trong tính cách và trong cuộc sống, thương cho người con gái ấy ...
Personally I'm a fan of the Japanese culture so I jump at the chance to read something about it. I wish the book was longer but I haven't finished it yet so the ending may surprise me.
Interesting more for the descriptions of place and time than for the plot, though there are parts of the plot that no author today could get away with.
Elissa Preston
Lovely writing and an engaging story, yet it feels like it doesn't quite conclude...
Also a wonderful peek into early-Meji era Edo.
Dec 27, 2008 nanto marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel, nant-s-book
beli karena murah. bukan karena ngerti, cuma baca ringkasan di belakang dan so' suka. :D
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Mori Ōgai, pseudonym of Mori Rintarō (born February 17, 1862, Tsuwano, Japan—died July 9, 1922, Tokyo), one of the creators of modern Japanese literature.

The son of a physician of the aristocratic warrior (samurai) class, Mori Ōgai studied medicine, at first in Tokyo and from 1884 to 1888 in Germany. In 1890 he published the story “Maihime” (“The Dancing Girl”), an account closely based on his own...more
More about Ōgai Mori...
Vita Sexualis La bailarina The Historical Fiction of Mori Ogai El intendente Sansho Ogai: Youth and Other Stories

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“I don't remember who spoke first, but I do recall the first words between us: "How often we meet among old books!"
This was the start of our friendship.”
“An obstacle which would frighten discreet men is nothing to determined women. They dare what men avoid, and sometimes they achieve an unusual success.” 6 likes
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