By Natsume Sōseki
Released in 1917, mild and darkish is in contrast to any of Natsume Soseki's earlier works and precise in jap fiction of the interval. What distinguishes the unconventional as "modern" is its amazing illustration of interiority. The protagonists, Tsuda Yoshio, thirty, and his spouse O-Nobu, twenty-three, express a pleasant complexity that qualifies them as the various earliest examples of three-d characters in jap fiction.
O-Nobu is quick-witted and crafty, a snob and narcissist a minimum of her husband, passionate, conceited, spoiled, insecure, naive — but, especially, gallant. lower than Soseki's scrutiny, she emerges as a flesh-and-blood heroine with a palpable truth, dueling along with her husband, his troublemaking buddy, Kobayashi, and her sister-in-law, O-Hidé. Tsuda undertakes his personal battles with Kobayashi, O-Hidé, and the manipulative Madam Yoshikawa, his boss's spouse. those exchanges explode into moments of severe jealousy, rancor, and recrimination that may shock English-speaking readers who count on indirectness, delicacy, and restraint in jap family members. Echoing the paintings of Jane Austen and Henry James, Soseki's novel achieves maximal drama with minimum motion and symbolizes a tectonic shift in literary shape.
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Listen to your grandmother. Don’t mention to anyone that we have food to eat. ’ As we couldn’t have others seeing smoke from a cooking fire several times a day, Mother only made rice in the mornings when she lit the stove to heat the house, and we would eat half and save the rest for later. Fortunately, as our father was vice chairman in charge of customs and trade in the city, we had some coal briquettes left in storage and were able to heat the stove even in the middle of the rainy season.
We stayed off the main roads and travelled along a wooded path toward the riverbank. Chilsung followed close behind. Uncle Salamander knew, as well as the rest of us, the location of every guard post and the places where the river was narrow and shallow. We headed upstream and chose a spot where the Tumen swept, in a big semi-circle, around a large patch of gravel. It was where my sisters and I used to go in the winter to play on the ice. The water was cold, but Uncle Salamander tucked my sister and me under his arms to help us across.
I don’t know about that. The farms have been in turmoil for the last several years; the climate is changing. ’ ‘How are people supposed to live on lettuce? They should be growing potatoes. ’ ‘That’s why the government keeps calling for the “great battle” to replace the topsoil, but no one actually cares enough to try. ’ ‘Well, the government likes to throw around that bullshit about “self-reliance” and talk up the virtues of traditional farming, but all that really means is that they can’t afford to modernise.
Light and Dark by Natsume Sōseki