Natsume Sōseki: Botchan

“I don’t care about my career. To do my duty by a friend is first and last.” ~ Botchan This statement exemplifies the righteousness and fierce loyalty of Botchan, the protagonist of the eponymous book by Natsume Sōseki. Botchan means “boy master”, an affectionate name given to him by his family’s elderly servant, Kiyo. He…

Read More

Natsume Sōseki: Kokoro

Kokoro こころ: the heart of things Published in 1914 in Japanese, Kokoro is widely regarded as Natsume Sōseki’s masterpiece. Edwin McClellan, who translated the novel in 1957, wrote in the foreword that he found the above definition to be the most befitting. The novel starts on an unassuming tone – a young and unidentified student…

Read More

Italo Calvino: Invisible Cities

Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino is a remarkable book. Originally published in 1972 in Italian as Le città invisibili, this is an unusual piece of literary work. It reads like a series of vignettes where imaginary dialogues between Marco Polo and the all-powerful Kublai Khan are interspersed with evocative descriptions of cities that the former…

Read More

Orhan Pamuk: The Museum of Innocence

I first came upon The Museum of Innocence while wandering around the dimly lit streets of Beyoğlu in search of dinner at midnight . It was my first night in Istanbul on my own after finishing a project in Etiler, another neighborhood on the European side of city. The unusual-sounding museum on the street sign piqued my curiosity…

Read More

Paul Morand: The Man in a Hurry

Pierre Noix is a Parisian antiques dealer. In spite of his occupation, he is preoccupied with the future and neglects the present. Always thinking of the next action or task, he takes no time to enjoy the simple or grand pleasures of life – be it a cigar, a lobster entrée or the act of sex.…

Read More

Banana Yoshimoto: Goodbye Tsugumi

What if you were born frail, chronically ill and the doctors predicted that you would die young? What if death looms over you like a permanent ominous cloak without revealing when your time will finally be up? How would you live your life? How would you treat those around you? How would you like to be remembered? “Goodbye Tsugumi”…

Read More