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. Na...more
“And when its difficulties intensify, you find yourself longing to leave that world and dwell in some easier one- and then, when you understand at last the difficulties will dog you wherever you may live, this is when poetry and art are born...”
For the very first time on a murky morning, I saw a set of colours come alive on the wall of my living room. The orderly row of comatose crayons suddenly sprang like a newborn foal twirling on the pasty canvass. Amid the angry voices of my parents I giggl...more
Natsume Soseki might soon be a new favourite of mine. This is a book I read after reading Praj's wonderful review.
Kusamakura tells the story of an unnamed artist looking for artistic inspiration while walking through the Japanese mountains, and his encounters at the on-sen (Japanese hotspring) where he encounters the beautiful N...more
To me, that is the "nonemotion" from Kusamakura of life as nature as art as life as poetry. In my own hazed de...more
This short little book treats life with a sort of nostalgia for something that was, or might not ever have been. It relays the process of creating a poem, of finding inspiration, of rebirth and renewal and of wandering the countryside to escape the neuroticism and 'fart-smellers' of the big city.
As you might have guessed from the last remark, this does not mean that Sōseki's tale is wholly humorless and austere. On the contrary. Ou...more
From the start I was captivated by the nice sense of peace
The narrator is so interesting as he describes what it means to
be a true artist but he is also very funny at times.
Made me think a lot about when I look at a piece of art and
really like it but can't explain why that this is ok as the artist
just wants you to feel the emotion he is trying to portrait.
Also makes you realise that just by appreciating nature and beauty
you are an art...more
The style is extremely poetical. Sōseki even goes as far as to focus on description of landscape, clothing and objects instead of plot. Nevertheless, there is a plot. I sometimes found it hard to wait for it to continue as the protagonist wanders through untouched nature far from civilization and watches everything from the viewpoint of a pai...more
the narrator never paints anything - which he excuses because of the fundamentally artistic quality of his character, but, are we really supposed to take his inner narrative at face value? even though he keeps saying that everyone reminds him of figures in a painting, he's hardly cool, objective...more
Soseki is known for being THE Japanese writer of the Meiji era
(just before pre-WWII). like Kokoro, Three-Cornered World is a very Japanese novel,...more
"Even something frightening may appear poetic if you stand back and regard it simply as a shape, and the eerie may make an excellent picture if you think of it as something which is completely independent of yourself. Exactly the same is true with di...more
To say it's a "haiku-style novel" is not a bad way of putting it. Natsume describes the settings and moments with lovely detail, paying special attention to nature and "the simple life." The narrator is an artist (who never paints anything in the whole novel) who travels to a mountain inn and meets different people, including the lovely...more
At the time this no doubt inadvertently served as Imperial propaganda, throughout the musings Western art forms are patronisingly dismissed the instant they are invoked. There is a battle in the nameless narrator's head as he tries to shake off a few years of Western education he despondently partook of in London.
The short, humble journey this novel recounts show him reverting back to an Eastern psychology allthewhile learning that it is seemingly incompatible with most Western thought. Soseki...more
There are beautiful passages in the story in which Soseki muses about art, and this is the main focus. He published this novel after Botchan. Thr...more