Rating: 3 stars
Random jottings and a short review for this one.
13 March 2014
Quite by coincidence, I find myself reading a novel influenced by Tristram Shandy. In chapter 1 of the second volume, the cat’s master and acquaintances are harassed by a woman with a large nose. When another former acquaintance visits, allusion is made to the thread in Tristram Shandy involving Tristram’s father’s theories about noses. The introduction also says that Sōseki was inspired by Sterne’s meandering cock and bull story when he expanded his short story into a novel. As well as ruminations on noses, it contains commentary on the differences between the sexes and passing mentions of hobby horses.
What a meandering read. And what an ending. I enjoyed parts of the book, but never fully cared about any of the characters. This made it harder to get through. I also didn’t like the way it changed from being the catlike viewpoint of the cat, to being the anthropomorphised viewpoint of the cat, to finally being a series of observations that happened to be presented as being the viewpoint of the cat. I’m glad I read other works by Sōseki first, because if this had been my first encounter with him, I might have wondered what the fuss was about.