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Kokoro, by Natsume Soseki

Emma Hagestadt
Friday 30 March 2007 00:00 BST

Natsume Soseki, one of Japan's leading novelists, lived in Camberwell between 1900 and 1902. But since his death at the age of 49, only a dozen or so of his novels have appeared in English. His masterpiece, Kokoro, once more sees the light of day with a limpid new translation by Edwin McClellen. In the story of an intense friendship between a young student and a man he calls Sensei, Soseki writes about changing Japanese attitudes to honour, love and duty. The circumstances of Sensei's mysterious life only become apparent at the moment of his death, in a brilliant study of self-hatred and guilt.

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