Kelly's Reviews > The Setting Sun

The Setting Sun by Osamu Dazai
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Sep 24, 09


Second time through this perfect book, the first being a dozen years ago. The Keene introduction does a good job of highlighting some of the things I enjoy most about Japanese writing and characterization:

"At the same time, she remains unmistakably Japanese in her relations with the people around her and in her quick emotional responses to the moments of intensity in her life. Because family confidences are almost impossible (except on the rare occasions when the repressions of Japanese life are overcome by the force of intolerable emotions), Kazuko, her mother, and her brother live almost without overt communication with one another. And although he (Dazai) succeeds in lending extraordinary vividness to his characters, there is much necessarily left unsaid in this Japanese world. THE SETTING SUN owes much to European culture, but it is as Japanese a novel as can be written today, in this period when the surface and inner manifestation of Japanese life are being Westernized at very different speeds and when (to a Western reader) the Japanese literature which reflects these changes is surprising, alternately, for its closeness and remoteness to our own lives."
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