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And Then

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  964 ratings  ·  84 reviews
Soseki Natsume is considered to be one of Japan's most beloved and respected authors. And Then is ranked as one of his most insightful and stirring novels.

Daisuke, the protagonist, is a man in his twenties who is struggling with his personal purpose and identity as well as the changing social landscape of Meiji-era Japan. As Japan enters the Twentieth Century, ancient
Paperback, 246 pages
Published September 10th 2011 by Tuttle Publishing (first published 1909)
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Average rating 3.94  · 
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May 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A Note on Japanese Names

--And Then

Afterword, by Norma Moore Field
Selected Bibliography
Daniel Clausen
Oct 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'll admit, I read this book as a person thoroughly out of time and out of context. I might even say, I read this book as a child of the 80s.

The book introduces us to Daisuke, a well-educated thirty-year-old who spends his days reading books, playing games of Go with his servant, and finding ways to shirk his responsibility to his family to marry a suitable girl who will help preserve the family's fortune. And he does this all while mooching off his family's money.

As I read this book, I had a
Feb 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another story about the doomed love between two flawed people and how love doesn't save anyone in the end...

And the movie adaptation is simply unforgettable:

Even the movie soundtrack (by Shigeru Umebayashi, English translation: Sorekara) is an art-form on itself:
Jun 14, 2016 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: gastroenterologists
Shelves: fiction

It doesn't usually take me three weeks to read a 246-page book, but I read the first 20 pages of And Then at least five times, for days, never getting past p. 20, nothing entering my mind. I am a bad reader, often. Undedicated. Lazy. Nothing much happens in large swathes of this novel. There's a lot of flower-smelling. But I made myself continue. If I could make myself a higher quality reader, even if only by 0.0000000024 percent a year, it would be worth it. This is my goal with all reading,
May 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is stunning -- stunningly beautiful and even shocking. It took me months to get through the first 150 pages or so (this edition is only 225 pages long) because so much of the 'action' of those pages takes place in Daisuke's head. Daisuke is a young man from a wealthy Japanese family who is, though approaching 30, still unmarried and still living off the allowance provided by his father. Pressured by his family (father, brother and sister-in-law) to find a profession and to take a wife, ...more
Stephen Durrant
Jun 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anyone traveling in Japan has seen Natsume Soseki's face gracing the 1000 Yen bill. Americans are probably surprised to see that in Japan a writer rather than a political figure is given such an honor--if having one's face printed on "filthy lucre" can be considered an honor. I would list Soseki's "Kokoro" among the best "world" novels of the twentieth century, and "And Then" is not far behind. While it is yet one more "male alienation" novel, the alienation in this case is motivated by real, ...more
Jan 05, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, japan
This is also another novel by Soseki Natsume which, I think, his readers should not miss due to his unique style and plot. However, some newcomers might find it a bit boring in some chapters but we have no choice, just keep reading and we’d see how the story develops. While reading, we can’t help hoping the protagonist, Daisuke, could see the light or solution in terms of his decision to get married as well as his love to Michiyo, Hiraoka’s wife. In fact, this love triangle seems a bit ...more
Miriam Cihodariu
Nov 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japan
This was very complex and a very valuable read. I don't have all the time in the world for a long commentary, as the book would definitely deserve, so I'll try to make just a few points, even bluntly.

1) Although the book is tinged with local cultural flavor, of Japan's Meiji restoration era, beneath it all the tale is highly universal. Daisuke is the eternal outsider, and a highly self-conscious one, at that. He is no different from some of the greatest heroes of Western literature that have a
J.M. Hushour
Nov 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
"Daisuke had never considered himself idle. He simply regarded himself as one of those higher beings who disposed of a large number of hours unsullied by an occupation."

Ah, I love Natsume! Like his inimitable The Gate, here he gives another long, slow simmer, the story of an indolent, yet tormented young man caught between devotion to social mores and raw nature. Daisuke's father and charming sister-in-law harangue him to marry. Daisuke secretly loves the ill wife of one of his oldest friends.
Jan 22, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Daisuke is a simultaneously admirable and despicable character. He has lofty ideals and yet has no means of backing it up; speaks in a superior method but has never had to earn through toil. In some way, I feel astounded by the heroic conclusions he comes to without ever having to learn anything. Even now, I am uncertain as to whether I can decide he is a heroic character or not. To me, I feel his final decision has made him grow completely and mature, but perhaps not enough to justify the ...more
Mar 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: big-red-circle
"Daisuke looked at his father's face blankly. He could not tell where the old man thought he had stabbed him."

"Daisuke envied the men of old: though they were actually motivated by self-interest, the muddiness of their reasoning enabled them to weep, to feel, to agitate, all the while convinced that it was for the sake of others, and, in the end, to effect what they had originally desired."
A tranquil, flowing, rather charming book centered on an idle character who has chosen to abstain from taking part in society and is living off a small rent given to him by his father. For much of the book, Daisuke's efforts are focused on escaping an arranged marriage and on thinking about his first love, who he helped marry his friend three years before: the book opens as the couple returns to Tōkyō. Daisuke is a likeable character: idle but dedicated, innocent but perceptive, shy but ...more
Oct 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
10/10 coming of age novel for hopeless idealists
Jan 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
After reading Sanshiro, I realized this was the first book of a trilogy, so now to the second book: And Then.
I read it both for the Japanese Literature Challenge, and for The Classics Club.

It is in this trilogy (Sanshiro; And Then; The Gate), “that we see the emergence of the mature novelist.” If Sanshiro is the story of a timid young man, frightened and paralyzed by the new world he is thrown in, And Then is “about troubled adulthood”, and The Gate about middle age.

In my review of Sanshiro, I
Sep 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty good, reminded me of the Age of Innocence! If you enjoy reading literature books for fun.. here you go heh
May 19, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
In his home country of Japan Soseki is one of the most highly-regarded and beloved of authors, a writer of great emotional and textural range. He's also one of my favorite Japanese writers.

And Then forms the middle part of a loosely-linked trilogy that opens with Sanshiro and concludes with The Gate, though each novel can be read as a stand-alone. The central theme is the tension between obligations to one's own values and obligations to society. It follow's the mostly phycological journey of
David Haws
Jan 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japanese-fiction
Capital accumulation screws with efficient distribution; but perhaps the worst thing to be said about wealth is that it eventually makes the wealthy irrelevant (maybe that’s not a bad thing). Many Sōseki protagonists seem to suffer this kind of finance-induced dysfunction. Wealth is supposed to enable skule, but the wealthy just seek more wealth (after Hobbes), and those attached to the pipeline simply become idle (怠け者) waiting for the next remittance. They’re like teenagers begging a car from ...more
Patrick McCoy
And Then (1909) by Natsume Soseki is one of three novels considered a series that Haruki Murakami called among his favorites (the others are Sanshiro and The Gate). Like those other novels there is little that happens in the novel, but the inner lives of the characters are in tumult for various reasons-in this book it is because freeloading Daisuke, a spoiled son of a wealthy businessman, is in love with his best friend Hiraoka's wife Michiyo. Diasuke is both repellent and admirable, he looks ...more
And Then is a work of art in my mind. There is such an ambiguity that rings throughout the book and in order to really "get it" you have to quieten down your mind and spirit to grasp the nuances of meaning within the story. Daisuke, our protagonist, appears to float between life and death through several channels; either through his concerns about his health and mind or symbolically through his decisions (and indecisions) and imaginations. For me reading this book is like narrowing down the soft ...more
Jesse Casman
Sep 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely incredible book. Shows Natsume Soseki at the peak of his powers. Felt like one of his famous books "about nothing," until you realize the ne'er-do-well son has a secret love. This book really affected me.
Feb 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
An Artfully-Written Pathology Study

[Warning: Contains significant spoilers!]

My first awareness of this book and its author came from the excellent 11-part 2013 Fuji TV drama "Antiquarian Bookshop Biblia's Case Files," or "Biblia Koshodou no Jiken Techou." The show - which is included in the streaming service Crunchyroll - is about a used bookshop run by a mysterious girl who has a Sherlock Holmes-like skill: She can unravel the history of a book's past owners just by examining it. Each episode
May 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
From the Afterword by translator Norma Moore Field: "The first, most obvious theme taken from his life is that of abandonment. Many Soseki characters are literally or figuratively abandoned children, who must therefore grapple with basic questions of identity.

Another important theme is ambivalence, if not outright skepticism, toward modernity and Westernization. Soseki witnessed the melancholy effect the disruptions of the Restoration had on his family. He was also pulled backward in time by
Aug 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There's a varnish to all of Natsume Soseki's writing that it is so smooth and almost incidental - subtle tragedy and unorthodox endings that you look back and wonder if this was from real life, and the gloss just one's jaded out look of things - or is it Soseki's that has infected them?

The subject of the story is a man named Daisuke, and you immediately get the sense that he is outside it, even as the reader is. He is that element not in harmony with that is around him, the normal flow in the
Spike Spiegel
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: life-changing
The protagonist has a skewed sense of self before he is even able to accumulate experience and wisdom into his life. He speaks condescendingly without putting himself out there to see how his logic fairs in real life situations. Daisuke is a disagreeable protagonist but is also ironically relatable for millenials (such as myself). He never worked a job in his life; living off of his father's fortune, and constantly preaches about how work should be done for the sake of work and not for the sake ...more
Stephen Simpson
Aug 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kind of a typical Soseki novel, really. Goes into a lot of depth on themes of isolation, alienation, concepts of duty (including the conflict between a sense of duty to others and duty to self), and so on. Soseki's novels usually aren't very cheerful and certainly aren't fast-paced, and this is no exception, but I found the slow build in this story to be very effective. In some ways, it was almost like a slow-motion train wreck - you saw where things were going and the slow pace of it actually ...more
Sheu Quen
Oct 03, 2017 rated it did not like it
Nope. I just had to put a stop to it. I can't relate to a man who's 30 years old (my age apparently), living off his father's money, unemployed and refuses to find a wife no matter how important it is to his dad and family honour. To make matters worse, it's as if he's a little nutty in his head, being all philosophical and theological and different from others, like he's able to feel or think in a more unique way compared to other people. I'm not sure what but he sounds like a mental patient to ...more
Noah Koster
Jan 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Starts off a bit slow but ends in a truly beautiful finish. A look at the intersections of taboo, desire and romance in the tail end of the Meiji period. On the surface, it's a classic forbidden love story, but looking behind the scenes there's definitely something else at play behind just that simple narrative. There's a strong undercurrent of a deeper interwoven tale of the fight between remnants of Edo period ways and oncoming westernization. Highly recommend it, just gotta push a bit through ...more
Eric Hinkle
Dec 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Modern society was nothing more than an aggregate of isolated individuals. The earth stretched boundlessly, but the instant houses were built upon it, it became fragmented. The people inside the houses became fragmented, too. Civilization took the collective we and transformed it into isolated individuals."

A fantastic book about a difficult, self-isolated man, a loafer almost unable to make a single decision or to try to become self-sustaining, and what leads to him having to do both of those
May 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The trilogy by Soseki is a must read for any youth who is about to enter the real work. Sanshiro, Mon and Sore Kara shall remain my Soseki favourites. Portrays the journey of a youth born in a family in the edo era but raised in the modern meiji era. The stories beautifully portray the conflict the youth goes through. Something that I can deeply relate to :)
Nov 23, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I don't know if it was the way this was stiltedly translated or the fact that it was about a very self-centered & condescending man but I could barely get through this. There was absolutely no emotion or warmth in these pages...not even in the descriptions of the cherry blossoms!
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Natsume Sōseki (夏目 漱石, February 9, 1867 – December 9, 1916), born Natsume Kinnosuke (夏目 金之助), was a Japanese novelist. He is best known for his novels Kokoro, Botchan, I Am a Cat and his unfinished work Light and Darkness. He was also a scholar of British literature and composer of haiku, kanshi, and fairy tales. From 1984 until 2004, his portrait appeared on the front of the Japanese 1000 yen ...more
“All you do is think. Because all you do is think, you've constructed two separate worlds—one inside your head and one outside. Just the fact that you tolerate this enormous dissonance—why, that's a great intangible failure already.” 32 likes
“If he let one day pass without glancing at a single page, habit led him to feel a vague sense of decay. Therefore, in the face of most intrusions, he tried to arrange it so that he could stay in touch with the printed word. There were moments when he felt that books constituted his only legitimate province.” 7 likes
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