Linda's Reviews > Botchan

Botchan by Sōseki Natsume
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's review
Feb 23, 11

bookshelves: asian
Read in February, 2011

Cohn's translation makes this 100-year-old book sound modern, which means it can easily be read by Americans. And it's funny - as in both odd and comical. Here is this short, mouthy, impulsive Japanese man (what?) from big-city Tokyo stuck in some god-forsaken hick town, enduring annoying ignorance from students and townfolk plus the two-facedness of the school faculty for which he has made up nicknames. Botchan is self-righteousness and thinks himself a tough guy. Readers have got to love gems like, "Haiku is either for masters like Basho or for guys like hairstylists. What business does a math teacher have fooling around with little poems about morning glories..." And then there's that one about Noh, and ikebana. Complain, complain, na moshi. Yet he cares about Kiyo, his old maid since childhood, finally realizing her devotion to him is a treasure. Such an odd guy, and how funny is this book. Okashii!
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