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Edition details


eBook ISBN

Publication date
1st September 2015


Gallic Books

Extent (number of pages)

Jay Rubin



BIC category
F / FC

US publication date
12th April 2016




The Miner


The most daringly experimental and least well-known novel of the great Meiji writer Natsume Sōseki.

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Translated by Jay Rubin, and with an introduction from Haruki Murakami, this is bound to appeal to fans of Japanese literature.

The Miner is the most daringly experimental and least well-known novel of the great Meiji writer Natsume Sōseki. An absurdist tale about the indeterminate nature of human personality, written in 1908, it was in many ways a precursor to the work of Joyce and Beckett.

The narrative unfolds within the mind of an unnamed protagonist-narrator, a young man caught in a love triangle who flees Tokyo, is picked up by a procurer of cheap labour for a copper mine, then travels toward and inside the depths of the mine, in search of oblivion. As he delves, the young man reflects at length on nearly every thought and perception he experiences along the way.

His conclusion? That there is no such thing as human character. The result is a novel that is both absurd and comical, and a true modernist classic.

‘It makes me very happy to know that even now I can read this novel written over a hundred years ago as if it were a contemporary account and be deeply affected by it. It cannot, and should not be overlooked. It is one of my favourites.’ From the introduction by Haruki Murakami
‘This is a handsome and welcome new edition.’ The Japan Times
‘This is a very good novel, of a young man’s struggles with himself and his personal demons’ The Complete Review
‘This revised translation of The Miner presents an underappreciated gem from one of Japan’s greatest novelists.’ Shelf Awareness
‘This is an astonishing book: astonishing in so many ways, but absolutely astonishing in that it is a page turner!’ Bailieborough Library Reading Group
The Miner may be a product of its time and place, but so is To the Lighthouse, so is A Man Without Qualities , and books about thought – or mining for the nature of thought – are a valuable addition to any healthy reading diet.  Warmly recommended for the curious reader.’ David Mitchell, author of The Bone Clocks
Bonus Material
Reading group questions
Natsume Soseki

Meet the author

Natsume Soseki (1867-1916) was a Japanese writer of the Meiji period, who lived in London from 1901-03. His work influenced many later writers, including Haruki Murakami.  

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