Book Review: And Then by Soseki Natsume (Modern Classic)
Title: And Then Author: Soseki Natsume Publisher: Tuttle Publication Date: 2011 (1909) Pages: 246 Format: Paperback Genre: Modern Classics Source: Gift
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
And Then is another stunning work from Soseki Natsume. It's both an excellent psychological character study and a compelling look at the divide that occurred in Japan at the turn of the last century as old customs competed with modernisation/westernisation. This is a flowing, well executed translation and I was caught up in Daisuke's story right from the start. Recommended for fans of Japanese fiction and of early twentieth century literary fiction in general. I am keen to continue reading more of Soseki Nastume's works available in translation.