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The Wild Goose
Ōgai Mori
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The Wild Goose

3.65  ·  Rating Details  ·  758 Ratings  ·  56 Reviews
Mori Ogai (1862-1922), one of the giants of modern Japanese literature, wrote The Wild Goose at the turn of the century. At a time when writers tended to depict modern, alienated male intellectuals, the characters of The Wild Goose are diverse, including not only students preparing for a privileged intellectual life and members of the plebeian classes who provide services ...more
Published by University of Michigan Press (first published 1911)
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Jun 03, 2014 Rowena rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japanese-lit
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
3.5 stars

Ōgai co-mingles nostalgia for a vanished Tokyo of the late 1800's with romanticism as he tells the story of secret longing, isolation, and unrequited love. The main character, Otama, is the subject of pathos in this Meiji- period story: a naïve heroine left with gloomy prospects after her divorce from a bigamist policeman, succumbs to filial duty to her impoverished father by becoming the mistress of a sleazy moneylender.

Her patron, Suezo, while shrewdly building a business on the expl
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
Aug 19, 2014 umberto rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, japan
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
Oct 20, 2012 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: big-red-circle
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?"
Apr 19, 2015 Graziano rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: open-library
But not all wild geese can fly, and in Ogai’s novel there are several that cannot. (8)

Gradually her thoughts settled. Resignation was the mental attitude she had most experienced. And in this direction her mind adjusted itself like a well-oiled machine. (47)

Whatever pain the decision might cost her, she was determined to keep her sadness to herself. And when she had made this decision, the girl, who had always depended on others, had felt for the first time her own independence. (76)

A woman may
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.
D. Biswas
Aug 03, 2011 D. Biswas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 05, 2016 Esteban rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A diferencia de Sōseki, un contemporáneo suyo más reconocido, Ogai tiene un tono más sobrio y distante, y una temática que lo acerca accidentalmente a Ichiyo Higuchi. Al igual que en Aguas turbulentas, hay una crítica a los estrechos roles a los que estaban confinadas las mujeres, pero la perspectiva estrictamente masculina que atraviesa la novela impide darle mayor profundidad a los personajes femeninos. Además, la melancolía del final (en contraste a la resolución trágica de Aguas turbulentas) ...more
Gardy (Elisa G)
Jul 09, 2015 Gardy (Elisa G) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classici, giappone
A una prima lettura ero rimasta più colpita da questo classico giapponese risalente al periodo giovanile e meno "professorone" di Mori Ogai.

Il materiale ideale per dare sui nervi a chi si lamenta dell'indeterminatezza della letteratura giapponese: il nucleo del romanzo, la relazione tra Otama, Okada e l'ambiguo narratore della vicenda, rimane uno spazio vuoto, di cui le vicende narrate si limitano a delineare il contorno.
Il ritratto del risveglio sensuale della giovane Otama, la promessa tra l
Sep 19, 2009 Krystle rated it liked it
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
Vianna Orchidia
well, this is one interesting japanese classic where the woman actually gets the strong character. i'm kinda bored of japanese classics mentioning women as dispensable (i do have a bit of heroine fetish), so this is a nice change.

not that all women in this book is described as such, though. only Otama gets the privilege. Otsune, however, is a very poor woman, a perfect representation of the first wife of someone. this made my blood boil for a while, but i guess that's only because i have had rea
Pam Virada
Jul 26, 2015 Pam Virada rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Though a man may see the particular movement of a highly intricate machine, he may not necessarily understand its toal operation. An insect that must always ward off persecution from the bigger and stronger of the species is given the gift of mimicry. A woman tell lies.
Alex Pler
Feb 23, 2016 Alex Pler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Releer se parece a reescribir. Ya no sabes por qué aquella historia significó tanto, solo te dejas llevar por el talento de su autor.
Mar 12, 2016 D rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
So I was thinking it's an okay read. Nothing complicated or formalistically complex as say, Yasunari Kawabata's work. Narrative was fairly straightforward, the 1st person but omniscient narrator a bit surprising (and kind of clunky at times: how the hell did he know what Suezo was thinking?) but maybe it has to do with the time the novel was written.

What I really liked though is the ending. He wraps it up and leaves so many questions unanswered, and that leaves so much to the imagination. Good e
Dec 20, 2015 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you like the finely-executed Japanese prints & artwork of the 19th will enjoy this beatifully-crafted, well-translated classic of literature.The storyline is fairly mundane - mere details of lives plucked from the wide sweep of colours & tones of a teeming Meiji-era city - but it held this reader's attention & interest in its 120 pages to its enigmatic finale with one of the wild geese of the title. Symbolism is only part of it: it exudes the exotic aromas & flav ...more
This was a short and bittersweet novel. Originally published between 1911 to 1913, Ogai Mori tells the story of Otama, a young girl forced by poverty and a sense of duty to her aging father to become the mistress for a sleazy moneylender in town, Suezo. Suezo had grown tired of his “ugly,” nagging wife, and decides he needs a young and beautiful mistress to satisfy him. Set in around 1880 in a changing Japan, the story is introspective, giving a clear insight into the minds of its characters. Th ...more
Sep 22, 2015 Marta rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
La edición que he leído de "El Ganso Salvaje" es la publicada en formato digital por Chidori Books, que ya lleva un año cumpliendo su objetivo: acercar la literatura japonesa a los lectores en español. Uno de los primeros títulos escogidos para llevar a cabo su objetivo fue “El Ganso Salvaje”, de Mori Ōgai, que se enclava en la colección “Grandes Clásicos”.
La edición digital de esta editorial es sublime (como el resto de títulos de su catálogo), y para verlo sólo hay que fijarse en su portada,
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
Nick Ziegler
Apr 27, 2013 Nick Ziegler rated it really liked it
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
May 16, 2012 Anthony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, translations
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sachiko Ishikawa
Jun 04, 2015 Sachiko Ishikawa rated it really liked it  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
"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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ratnayu Candra Kirana
This book depicts how the life of students in the Edo era in a pretty good and simple way. I like how in the middle Ogai Mori changes the focus of the story into Otama and Suezo. However, it is too short and I don't like the ending. It just feels like I need to know what happens to Otama after Okada has gone. Lastly, I don't really get the emotion flowing from the characters. Despite all of these, it is still worth the reading.
Jun 21, 2007 William rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japan
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
I was much more impressed with this one from Mori Ogai than any other of his works that I encountered. It just has that feeling of nostalgia floating around you as you read, it's sentimental and the story is not built in a western way which might be unpleasant for some readers but I really enjoyed it!
Amanda Himawan
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
Oct 25, 2015 Alberto rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“El Ganso Salvaje”, de Mori Ōgai es una novela de extensión corta, ideal para aquellos lectores que quieran establecer contacto por primera vez con la literatura japonesa. Pero a pesar de su brevedad, para los lectores que ven más allá de las palabras, esta historia está llena de simbolismos, y es que con muy poco, Mori Ōgai consigue transmitir una gran historia. Y aunque la novela transcurre en 1880, el paso de los años no le ha afectado para nada, pues la historia que cuenta, y los sentimiento ...more
Irina T
Feb 18, 2016 Irina T rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Just like most of the Japanese novels, Mori Ogai's novel ends when you expect it to actually start telling you what's gonna happen. Otherwise, it's a pleasant reading, you can read it in a few hours.
Manheim Wagner
Jan 01, 2015 Manheim Wagner rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
A compact, well written succinct tale set in the beginning of the Meiji period, The Wild Geese is a quick and clever book.
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Goodreads Librari...: Add translator request 4 21 Jun 15, 2015 10:53PM  
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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 about Ōgai Mori...

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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.” 8 likes
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