Read Wayfarer by Sōseki Natsume Online


A strange relationship develops between Ichiro, his wife Onao, and his brother Jiro as a result of Ichiro's and Onao's incompatibility....

Title : Wayfarer
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780399506123
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 326 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Wayfarer Reviews

  • Juan de Dios Reyes
    2019-01-16 04:05

    Japonés... Obvio! Se podría decir, y lo es, pero no sé otra forma de describirlo. A mi me gustó. Desde que conocí Japón viviendo allá por un par de meses me he interesado por su cultura y este libro aporta mucho a ello. Cómo se ordenaba la vida social en Japón de comienzos del Siglo XX y la posición relativa de cada miembro de la familia (particularmente las mujeres), es algo que queda muy bien ilustrado aquí; y cómo a partir de esa forma de relacionarse se describe un conflicto existencial que, la verdad, no sé si es consecuencia de la dinámica familiar o simplemente estando presente en cualquier sociedad, aquí se manifiesta de una manera peculiar afectando a todos como consecuencia de esa dinámica...

  • Eric Hinkle
    2019-01-02 05:06

    Despite the surface fact that not a lot really happens, I was quite engrossed by this book. The tone is fairly unchanging throughout, there's not a ton of excitement, the characters aren't always very likable, and it can be pretty depressing sometimes, but for me this didn't detract from the overall merits of the book, of which there are many. Its main focus is on how one family interacts together, in the open and in the deep recesses of their minds. The family notices the brother becoming more and more difficult and sombre, and instead of really trying to figure out the reason for it they just blame him and avoid him, which just makes it worse. It's a sad state of affairs, and becomes rather heartbreaking once you realize the extremity of the situation. It amazes me that a novel like this could be successfully serialized in a newspaper. On the one hand it's a testament to Soseki's unwavering reputation at the time, but on the other hand it shows how much patience and understanding the Japanese mainstream must have had to engage with such a slow, introspective, blemish-exposing study of their people.I also enjoyed Soseki's infusing a couple of these female characters with a proud, defiant feminism. When Jiro treats his sister like dirt, Soseki makes sure to tell about it in words that suggest how he feels about weak people like Jiro pretending to be superior. The sister-in-law, especially, seems pretty powerful in some ways, yet helpless in other moments. One heartbreaking moment is when she says, "Menfolk, if they aren't contented, can fly off anywhere, but certainly we women cannot. I am no better than a potted plant; once planted by my parents' hands, I am never able to move an inch unless someone comes along and helps me to move. There can be no other way but to stand still - yes, no other way but to stand still until blighted."As always, here are some more bits and bobs I like:"Mountains, rivers, seas--nature at the instant when I feel it sublime is nothing but God, is it not? What other kinds of God are there?""As for the question of a wife, it is certainly not my way to find just anyone, no matter who, as if she were a puppy.""These sightless eyes do not give me much pain; what is most painful is to know that with both eyes wide open it's still impossible to fathom another person's intentions.""When she heard of my plan to return to Tokyo tonight she smiled and said good-bye. And I am afraid I may dream about her forlorn smile on that train tonight.""Brother, I've always been a lover of nature. Perhaps that's because I'm out of tune with other humans, with no alternative but to turn to nature.""I often felt more sorry than ever for the fact that he had apparently allowed himself to become immersed in books while alienating himself from living things.""'How far do your mind and mine meet together and from where do they part?''There is no bridge leading from one man to another.'""I sat by the brazier, smoking and vacantly trying to imagine my future. In the threads that wove my future flatteringly gorgeous colors always flickered from the flames of the newly supplied Sakura charcoal in the brazier; but at times they burned out, as bleak as the ashes themselves. Often, suddenly and by some chance I awoke to my own present self out of such a daydream, and wondered by what means fate would link my present and my future self."

  • Cecilia
    2019-01-03 05:46

    3,5 No sé qué nota ponerle, la verdad. Hay pasajes que me han parecido excepcionales y otros bastantes aburridos. Es una forma muy distinta de narrar y la forma que tienen los japoneses de ver la vida es radicalmente distinta a la nuestra, algo que dificulta de manera extraordinaria la compresión de los caracteres de los personajes. Es una lectura interesante. Quería saber cómo escribía el que se considera el maestro de Murakami. Sin embargo, no sé si tendré fuerzas para encarar otro libro suyo.

  • Jessica
    2019-01-12 23:07

    "These sightless eyes do not give me much pain; what is most painful is to know that with both eyes wide-open it's still impossible to fathom another person's intentions."

  • W.
    2019-01-06 01:48

    Minor Natsume novel, with a hodge-podge structure, ostensibly about familial relations but drops Nietzsche-esque philosophy at the end out of nowhere.I would recommend reading many other Natsume novels before tackling this one.

  • Leslie
    2019-01-07 07:07

    [Review in English followed by review in French][Critique en anglais suivie de critique en français]This isn't the best Sôseki I've read but it was for sure an enjoyable reading. It's the kind of book where absolutely nothing happens. Basically we follow the life of a family, and particularly the relationship between the two brothers Jirô and Ichirô. There is no action, even though the main character travels a lot as the title says. This book is rather about describing the qualms and the psychology of the characters. Knowing that those characters are Japanese, their psychology and behavior might seem quite odd to people who aren't familiar with this culture. Despite the apparent nonchalance this book may seem to wear during most of its pages, it actually slowly sinks into darkness. Not in an obvious way, and certainly many readers will think that this term is exaggerated or even completely irrelevant. But if you understand Japanese people and Sôseki, you'll see that it's indeed about the darkness of insanity that he's talking about. Simply as usual, and following the purest Japanese literary tradition, he does it with a subtlety which is almost too much for us Westerners.So I wouldn't recommend this book to people who like action, or who aren't familiar with Japanese mentality. In this case if you want to start reading Sôseki, it is better to try his haiku, or he's book Kokoro which treats his subject in a much more obvious way.Personally I really enjoyed this reading, especially the end, because I could identify with Ichirô who shares lots of my concerns and whom I understand the suffering.Ce n'est pas le meilleur Sôseki que j'ai lu, mais ce fut quand même une agréable lecture. C'est le genre de livre où il ne se passe strictement rien. En gros on suit la vie d'une famille, et particulièrement les relations entre deux frère, Jirô et Ichirô. Il n'y a pas d'action, même si effectivement le personnage principal voyage pas mal, comme le titre l'indique. Il s'agit ici plutôt de décrire les états d'âme et la psychologie des personnages. Sachant que ces personnages sont japonais, leurs psychologie et leurs attitudes peuvent paraître étranges pour les gens peu familiers de cette culture. Malgré l'apparente nonchalance que ce livre peut revêtir durant la majeure partie des pages, on s'enfonce doucement dans la noirceur. Pas de manière évidente, et certainement beaucoup de lecteur penseront que ce terme est exagéré voir même complètement hors de propos. Mais si on comprend les japonais et Sôseki, on verra que c'est bel et bien de la noirceur de la folie dont il parle. Simplement comme à son habitude, et en suivant la plus pure tradition de la littérature japonaise, il le fait avec une subtilité presque trop grande pour nous autres occidentaux.Je ne conseillerai donc pas ce livre aux gens qui aiment l'action, ou qui ne sont pas familiers de la mentalité japonaise. Dans ce cas si vous souhaitez vous lancez dans l’œuvre de Sôseki, mieux vaut commencer par ses haïku, ou par son livre Le Pauvre coeur des hommes qui traite son sujet de manière beaucoup plus évidente. Personnellement j'ai bien apprécier cette lecture surtout la fin, car j'ai pu m’identifier à Ichirô, qui partage pas mal de mes états d'âme et dont je comprend la souffrance.

  • Cynthia
    2019-01-25 00:56

    Mucho me temo que jamás he sabido apreciar la literatura japonesa. ¿Se trata de una diferencia cultural, o de una limitación en mi capacidad intelectual? Bueno, ¿por qué no ambas? Cualquiera que sea el motivo, El caminante (1912) de Soseki Natsume, con sus 300 páginas, me resultó una novela demasiado larga.En realidad, nunca sucede nada en El caminante; no se trata de trama, sino de desarrollo de personajes. La novela se limita a relatar las complicadas relaciones entre Jiro, Ichiro (ambos hermanos), y la esposa de éste, Nao. Es a través de Jiro que presenciamos el lento descenso de Ichiro hacia la locura: de manera sutil al inicio, dolorosamente evidente al final.La locura de Ichiro parece ser alimentada por su soledad. Poseedor de una gran inteligencia así como de un idealismo imposible de alcanzar, Ichiro sufre al sentirse aislado del resto de la humanidad; incapaz de doblegarse ante lo que considera actitudes vulgares e hipócritas, es también incapaz de ser feliz. Se trata de una batalla entre intelecto y el deseo fundamental de sentirse amado.La actitud de Nao constituye un misterio a tal punto que desconozco si alberga algún sentimiento de amor hacia Ichiro. El mismo Ichiro sospecha de una relación clandestina entre Nao y Jiro; sin embargo, nada acontece entre ambos. Al final, no hay ningún tipo de resolución respecto a ninguno de los tres.A pesar de mis quejas respecto a su longitud, no pienso que se trate de un mal libro. El caminante nos muestra esa unión extraordinaria del Japón tradicional y de un Japón moderno, donde transportarte en rikisha (coche tirado por un hombre) es tan común como comunicarte por teléfono. A pesar de haber sido publicada a principios del siglo XX, la novela, con su tema central de soledad y locura, se siente atemporal.

  • Gertrude & Victoria
    2019-01-16 03:53

    If there exists one work in modern Japanese literature that creates a profound psychological tension that forces us to genuinely contemplate our relations to family and acquaintances, The Wayfarer is such a book. Like Soseki's most acclaimed novel, Kokoro, this work leaves you digging your nails into the table and breathing hard, as you move from page to page.This novel, titled 'The Wayfarer' tells the story of Ichiro (not the baseball player) who is caught up in an unenviable position between his wife and brother. Ichiro is never comfortable with his familial relations. He seems never to properly fit in, thus leaving him feeling alienated and despondent. He struggles, even anguishes, to find the most efficacious means necessary to attain any semblance of inner peace.This book may not be as popular or glamorous as his masterpiece Kokoro, but it is definitely worth your time. I recommend this book to serious admirers of Japanese literature.

  • Stephen Douglas Rowland
    2018-12-27 00:46

    This is the most tedious of all the Soseki novels I have read, as it focuses on its inferior characters for most of its pages and only turns to its most interesting within the final 50 (in, like 'Kokoro,' the form of an insanely long letter I doubt anyone, even in 1913, could ever possibly compose). It's necessary for the novel to take this form, however, and being initially serialised, how it would read once all in one place may not have been taken into consideration. I award it the highest rating due to Soseki's deft handling of a highly intellectual, unfairly maligned, and what may seem insanely nuanced character (who, like Sensei, like Daisuke, surely reflects the author's own struggles and desires). This is actually one of the most hopeful works from Soseki I've read, but it is surely not for the casual reader, and probably not for the seasoned one, either. It is only for readers with endurance, who wish to be challenged intellectually. It does have its rewards.

  • David Haws
    2018-12-27 02:51

    The last section drags a little (a common feature with epistolary narratives) but it’s probably also the most important part of the book. Sometimes I get the sense that Japanese families don’t care much for each other (嫁—義 理の母; 父—うちの子; 兄—弟; 夫—妻). Does an imposed hierarchy make us untouchable? Apparently, it doesn’t make us want to be untouchable. Loneliness is such a pervasive theme in Japanese fiction, why don’t they just get rid of the hierarchy? Is it the only thing that holds their families (society) together? Like a lot of Japanese fiction this book is strong on characterization and weak on plot. The characters are compelling, and I would especially like to know more about Nao-san.

  • Jeffrey Stalk
    2019-01-20 06:09

    This book is a classic of Japanese literature, written in 1912/13. Soseki spent a number of years in England and wrote the Wayfarer as a serial for a newspaper. However, unlike the serials of Charles Dickens with lots of characters, dark secrets, conspiracies, crimes, etc., which Soseki must have read while in England, nothing much happens in Soseki's serial. The Wayfarer is about a self-obsessed university lecturer who worries his brother, wife, parents, and others, with his dark moods. Soseki is credited with bringing much needed vigor into modern Japanese writing, but that vigor was too subtle for me.

  • Carla
    2019-01-15 23:10

    Souseki sabe cómo utilizar un lenguaje y estructuras simples, en apariencia, para expresar ideas que se alejan de lo mundano. La angustia existencial del personaje Ichiro, su grito desesperado pidiendo ayuda, su inconformidad con lo convencional y terrenal no necesita de palabras rimbombantes, oraciones rebuscadas, personajes estrafalarios o de una trama compleja para que podamos sentirla en toda su profundidad. Una novela muy 'zen'.

  • Michael
    2018-12-26 05:50

    It SEEMS uneventful, but readers who persevere will be rewarded by some fine set-pieces--awkward family situations, emotional outbursts (and emotions repressed at great cost). I enjoyed reading quickly through this book, the second Soseki of the year so far for me. Have a few more to go. Next on my list is "THE MINER" translated by Jay Rubin.

  • Bruce
    2019-01-01 23:01

    This was well written but awkwardly constructed.