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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2/23/2010
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics

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Natsume Soseki's only coming-of-age novel, Sanshiro depicts the eponymous twenty-three-year-old protagonist as he leaves the sleepy countryside to attend a university in the constantly moving "real world" of Tokyo.

Baffled and excited by the traffic, the academics, and-most of all-the women, Sanshiro must find his way among the sophisticates that fill his new life. An incisive social and cultural commentary, Sanshiro is also a subtle portrait of first love, tradition, and modernization, and the idealism of youth against the cynicism of middle age.

This poignant coming of age story may be unfamiliar to Western readers, possessing very little overt resolution or clear turning points for our passive protagonist. However, it is well worth reading, expressing with clarity and honesty the confusion and weakness of an introspective young man approaching adulthood.

Author Biography

Natsume Soseki (1867-1916) is widely considered the foremost novelist of the Meiji era.
Jay Rubin is the translator of a number of books by Haruki Murakami as well as the Penguin Classics edition of Rashomon and Seventeen Other Stories by Ryunosuke Akutagawa.
Haruki Murakami is the bestselling author of more than ten novels, including The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and Kafka on the Shore.

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Customer Reviews

Memorable encounter with the Japanese sensibility April 18, 2011
This poignant coming of age story may be unfamiliar to Western readers. One of Soseki's most beloved works of fiction, the novel depicts the 23-year-old Sanshiro leaving the sleepy countryside for the first time in his life to experience the constantly moving 'real world' of Tokyo, its women and university. In the subtle tension between our appreciation of Soseki's lively humor and our awareness of Sanshiro's doomed innocence, the novel comes to life. Sanshiro is also penetrating social and cultural commentary. If you have never read Soseki, let this be your first of his novels--read it slowly, remember your first foray into adulthood, and enjoy the fumbling inadequacies of Sanshiro as he grows into adulthood.So in the end I'm glad I read the book. It was a memorable encounter with the Japanese sensibility in a pure form, no Western additives.
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Sanshiro: 5 out of 5 stars based on 1 user reviews.

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