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Botchan
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Book Club > Botchan, by Natsume Sōseki

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Courtney Ward (courtneyajw) | 13 comments Share your comments, thoughts and questions about Botchan by Sōseki Natsume.


Courtney Ward (courtneyajw) | 13 comments I was pretty excited to get started on Botchan however I'm having a hard time liking the main character. I appreciate the humor - his commentary on the "feminish" men is modern and very funny because he's so intense about it - but at times it just seems like he's whinning. I may be missing some very important point...

I'm about halfway though and I keep thinking that this is probably one great examples of the disadvantages of translation. In my copy, there is a perfectly written preface that talks about this as well.


Elsa | 12 comments What year is your edition from? I read one translated in about 1910 and the slang was hilarious but I really didn't know what it meant....I am reading a newer translation and it's much better.


Erin | 14 comments I'm reading the J. Cohn translation, and it looks like it was published in 2005. It would be interesting to know what a bilingual Japanese/English reader would think of it. I really love the humor so far (I just finished the first chapter). I think the protagonist comes across a hyper, destructive little punk - but I still really like him. Courtney, when you mention the commentary on "feminish" men, are you thinking about the main character's brother?


Courtney Ward (courtneyajw) | 13 comments Elsa, I'm reading the Yasotaro Morri digital translation published in 2012. I can definitely see the humor in a lot of the situations he finds himself in and his descriptions of the other characters.

Erin, I'll wait til you're a little further in but no, his commentary on the feminish men comes when he meets other characters. In the first few chapters, "hyper destructive" is a great description of him.


Erin | 14 comments What do you think of Botchan's reactions to people and situations around him?
There is a lot of humor that comes from his negativity and touchiness. He reacts with such a sense of heightened annoyance that it makes me wonder what I would think about this character if I actually met him and had to work with him! Would this quality make him more amusing or irritating to be around? Or would I kind of empathize with it all?
There ARE quite a few moments when I feel like I would also be exasperated. The antique-obsessed landlord and the surveillance of his students would probably drive me up the wall. So given the circumstances, is he just reacting the way that many of us would?


Erin | 14 comments I'm almost finished with it. Courtney, what you wrote about "feminish" men makes more sense now.
(view spoiler)


Courtney Ward (courtneyajw) | 13 comments I definitely had to commit to finishing this one. I can't say that it'll become a favorite but I do appreciate the story.

If I met the Botchan, I can say with certainty that I would find him to be more than just a a little annoying even if I coudl empathize with him.


message 9: by Carola (new) - added it

Carola (carola-) | 119 comments For those who are interested, this book was also a pick a few years ago:
https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...
Might get some insights from the old topic as well :)


Stone Bridge Press | 8 comments Erin wrote: "I'm reading the J. Cohn translation, and it looks like it was published in 2005. It would be interesting to know what a bilingual Japanese/English reader would think of it. I really love the humor ..."

How is that translation? I have a really old translation that is kind of hard to follow. Wanted to pick up J. Cohn's but wasn't sure if it would be better.


message 11: by Erin (new) - rated it 4 stars

Erin | 14 comments Stone Bridge Press - I liked the J. Cohn translation a lot. There is a very distinctive character voice that comes across from Botchan, and I thought that it was quite funny. I flipped through another newer translation I found in a bookstore (I can't remember the translator's name) and it was even ruder and saltier (more profanity, the character nicknamed "Hanger-On is instead nicknamed "Brown-noser" - that sort of thing.) The saltier version seemed pretty fun, too, but the humor itself still seems more or less unchanged in the J. Cohn version.


Stone Bridge Press | 8 comments Erin wrote: "Stone Bridge Press - I liked the J. Cohn translation a lot. There is a very distinctive character voice that comes across from Botchan, and I thought that it was quite funny. I flipped through ano..."

Hmmm, interesting. In my edition there is no "Hanger-on" hehe. Will have to pick up the J. Cohn translation then! Thanks Erin! :)


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