Book cover for Kokoro by Natsume Soseki, Edwin McClellan


by Natsume Soseki, Edwin McClellan



Written in the early 1900s, this was a short, thoughtful book of three distinct parts. The first introduces the protagonist and his relationship with an elderly man identified throughout the book as Sensei. In the middle part, the protagonist returns home to look after his ailing father and rejects opportunities to move his life forward. The final and longest part is a letter from Sensei explaining his experiences as a young man that lead him to be the man he is today.

I enjoyed the book and found the allusions to progress and depiction of male relationships to be quite revealing. The inner dialogue of the protagonist (and, later, Sensei) was a realistic portrayal of the dissonance faced when navigating complex social dynamics. Some of the tale remains mysterious and open to interpretation – it’s a book that will reward a repeat visit.