Author(s): Natsume Soseki
A humble clerk and his loving wife scrape out a quiet existence on the margins of late-Meiji Tokyo. Resigned, following years of exile and misfortune, to the bitter consequences of having married without their families' consent, and unable to have children of their own, Sosuke and Oyone find the delicate equilibrium of their household upset by a new obligation to meet the educational expenses of S?suke's brash younger brother. While an unlikely new friendship appears to offer a way out of this bind, it also soon threatens to dredge up a past that could once again force them to flee the capital. Desperate and torn, Sosuke finally resolves to travel to a remote Zen mountain monastery to see if perhaps there, through meditation, he can find a way out of his predicament. This moving and deceptively simple story, a melancholy tale shot through with glimmers of joy, beauty, and gentle wit, is an understated masterpiece by the first great writer of modern Japan. At the end of his life, Natsume Soseki declared The Gate, originally published in 1910, to be his favorite among all his novels.
This new translation at last captures the original's oblique grace and also corrects numerous errors and omissions that marred the first English version.
'a jewel of a book, economically written in which every element fits perfectly.' Times Literary Supplement
NATSUME SOSEKI (1867-1916), the widely read author of a variety of novels, essays, and haiku and kanshi poetry toward the end of the Meiji period (1868-1912), is the dominant figure in modern Japanese literature. He published his first work of fiction in 1905, the first chapter of what would become the famous satirical novel I Am a Cat. Other major works of his that have appeared in English translation include Botchan, Kusamakura, The Miner, and Kokoro. WILLIAM F. SIBLEY (1941-2009) was an emeritus professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago. EDWARD FOWLER is a professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of California, Irvine. PICO IYER is the author of several books, including Video Night in Kathmandu, The Lady and the Monk, and The Global Soul. He is a frequent contributor to The New York Review of Books and other publications and his most recent book is The Man Within My Head. He lives in Japan.