Just finished reading And Then by Soseki. The lack of direction and purpose of the main character Daisuke seem a reflection of the wider societal malaise within Meiji-era Japan, as the certainties of old were cast away in the pursuit of Western modernisiation. Daisuke’s ennui was generally matched by my own in reading the book, at least before the page-turning finale.
Soseki is renowned in Japan. Around the turn of the 20th century he spent 2 years living in the same area of Londo where I’m now living, in West Hampstead. I heard that the house in which Soseki stayed has been bought by a Japanese expatriate. Aparently, Soseki hated his time here. West Hampstead probably hadn’t gentrified by 1900 – I doubt the cafes, Gail’s and Little Waitrose were around at that time.