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The Wild Geese

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  971 Ratings  ·  75 Reviews
In The Wild Geese, prominent Japanese novelist Ogai Mori offers a poignant story of unfulfilled love. The young heroine, Otama, is forced by poverty to become a moneylender's mistress. Her dawning consciousness of her predicament brings the novel to a touching climax.
Paperback, 128 pages
Published December 15th 1989 by Tuttle Publishing (first published 1911)
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Maria Clara
Aug 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sin duda alguna, singular; sobre todo por su estructura. No soy mucho de leer literatura japonesa, lo reconozco, en general, puestos a elegir, y sin desviarnos mucho, me quedo con Las aventuras del rey mono o viaje hacia occidente; una obra anónima china del siglo XVI (así como otras novelas y cuentos chinos) Sin embargo, por azar, cogí este libro de la biblioteca y la casualidad me sonrió. Más que una novela, yo diría que es un cuento largo; un sueño sin acabar. Un principio sin un final. Es un ...more
Mar 28, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Jan 11, 2013 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 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
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?"
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
Feb 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: japan, 2017, english
Short but well narrated story of love that is dreamed, tactful, quiet and somehow unfulfilled.
Skillfully depicted characters help to jump into the scenery of the end of the 19th century of Japan with its up and downs.
A book leaves with an open question: how many times the chance became a part of our lives even without noticing? And in this without lies the whole drama of our own ...
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
Apr 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
D. Biswas
Aug 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Gertrude & Victoria
Jan 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: japanese-library
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.
Sep 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bezit-niet, lit-roman
Trefzekere en bijzonder geestige vertelling waarin Ogai Mori het literaire bedrijf enkele kwinkslagen uitdeelt, de ironie achter de alwetendheid van de verteller blootlegt en de verwachtingen van de lezer een voetje licht. Meer dan honderd jaar oud ondertussen, maar onbeperkt houdbaar. Top!
Oh ja, gelezen in een Nederlandse vertaling van R. R. Schepmans: Ogai Mori, De wilde gans. Coppens & Frenks, Amsterdam, 1985.
Jan 05, 2016 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)
Jun 10, 2015 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
Feb 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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 05, 2014 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.
Jonathan Bogart
My favorite of the books I've forced myself to resume reading after an unintentional summer vacation from books, The Wild Geese is a slim novel published in installments from 1911 to 1913 by a writer who has sometimes been called a representative of Japanese Romanticism, but there's nothing Byronic or Brontëan about this carefully-considered, elegantly-constructed examination of less than a year in the social and emotional life of a young woman who has become the mistress of the local moneylende ...more
Sep 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Ogai Mori is one of the most notable Japanese writers we recognize to this day. One should read the intro and preface because it gives a lot of context and strengthens his ethos and pathos in my opinion. The description of the scenes of the mountains and various activities the characters participate in are written with such detail, it is a shame one has to read with their eyes, the writing is so smooth and effortless that the story would sound like a fresh blanket of snow. You can feel the cool ...more
Emily Carter-Dunn
So this is my 'Book that is over 100 years old' for my reading challenge.

I usually LOVE nostalgic Asian stories, but this was seriously lacking. There were a number of threads to this story, none of which actually joined together which led to a very disjointed and confusing story.

I honestly have no idea what Okada had to do with the main part of the story, yet he is cast as a main character? Nah.
Oct 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
ชอบวิธีการเลาแบบนี แบบทีไมใหคานำหนักตัวละครตัวใดตัวหนึงมากไป เหมือนภาพประกอบหลายๆ สวน เมือเอามาประกอบเปนภาพๆ เดียว มันกเลยลงตัวอยางงดงาม ...more
Jun 20, 2017 rated it it was ok
Lackluster, might have been better if it was longer. Couldn't relate with the sentimentality and portrayal. Short and simple read though so maybe worth another try in the future.
Kiely Marie
Sep 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
I only started to like this book after I wrote a paper on it. It's a good and engaging little novella, especially if you're interested in Japanese history.
Fabio Saldanha
May 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Passei várias raiva
Mar 02, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Aug 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
How tragic at the end :'(
Nick Ziegler
Apr 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 25, 2015 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,
Mar 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: seppuku, fiction
Women pitiably waver in their decisions until they have made up their minds, yet once they have decided on their course of action, they rush forward like horses with blinders, looking neither to the right nor left. An obstacle which would frighten discreet men is nothing to determined women. They dare what men avoid, and sometimes they achieve an usual success.

Splendid picture of 19th century Japan, a novel of crossroads and crossed paths, it is full of chance meetings and sightings. An astoni
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Goodreads Librari...: Add translator request 4 22 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...
“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.” 11 likes
More quotes…