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This novel by Futabatei Shimei (1864–1909) falls squarely within the traditions of Naturalism in literature. Reminiscent of Theordore Dreiser’s Sister Carrie or Edith Wharton’s Ethan Frome, it presents characters in the grip of forces they cannot resist or control. Tetsuya is a Professor of Economics and Finance who has accepted an adoption-marriage to pay the costs of his education. Now he finds himself miserable with his neglectful wife Toki-ko, and attracted to her illegitimate half-sister Sayo-ko, who cannot help herself from returning his affections. Enmeshed by their emotions, hemmed in by convention, tormented by guilt and remorse, the lovers careen down a tears-laden course of deceit and dissolution. In Meiji Japan, the idealists must bend while the realists flourish and the costs to humanity are measured in suffering and despair.
Japan, Meiji, novels, Tokyo
Shimei, Futabatei; Mitsui, Buhachiro; and Sinclair, Gregg M., "An Adopted Husband [Sono Omokage]" (2022). Zea E-Books Collection. 122.