Soseki Natsume

And Then

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“A Japanese writer of genius.”—Japan Quarterly
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 customs give way to western ideals, and Daisuke works to resolve his feelings of disconnection and abandonment during this time of change. Thanks to his father's wealth, Daisuke has the luxury of having time to develop his philosophies and ruminate on their meaning while remaining intellectually aloof from traditional Japanese culture and the demands of growing industrialization. Then Daisuke's life takes an unexpected turn when he is reunited with his college friend and his sickly wife. At first, Daisuke's stoicism allows him to act according to his intellect, but his intellectual fortress begins to show its vulnerabilities as his emotions start to hold greater sway over his inner life. Daisuke must now weigh his choices in a culture that has always operated on the razor's edge of societal obligation and personal freedom.
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333 printed pages
Original publication
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    Laura de Sotohas quoted2 years ago
    and he can’t make it teaching at just one place so he moonlights at three, maybe four other places. You can’t help feeling sorry for him. All he does is prepare a lesson, dash off to the classroom, then move his mouth mechanically. He doesn’t have time for anything else. When Sunday comes around, he calls it a day of rest and sleeps the whole day away. So, even if there’s a concert somewhere or a famous musician from abroad performs here, he can’t go. In other words, he’s going to die without ever having set foot in the beautiful world of music. For me, there’s no inexperience more wretched than that. Experience that’s tied to bread might be sincere, but it’s bound to be inferior. If you don’t have the kind of luxurious experience that’s divorced from bread and water, there’s no point in being human. You’re probably thinking that I’m still a child, but in the luxurious world where I live, I’m your senior by years.”

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