This collection by Yoshida Kenko marvels us from the start. Filled with musings on different topics, most of which have to do with death, nature or mannerisms, Kenko’s writing is imbued with cultural sensibilities. 51 pages long, it is split into paragraph or page long thoughts about people, their habits and the general course of life. It is astounding to notice that a lot of his observations are applicable in today’s world too.
What sold this book to me was the quote printed on the very first page – “It is a most wonderful comfort to sit alone beneath a lamp, book spread before you, and commune with someone from the past whom you have never met.” If that doesn’t hint at the quality of his writing, I don’t know what possibly could. Practically every page had something very valuable to offer. He also recounts certain folk tales from ancient times which were rather enjoyable. As far as Japanese Literature goes, I haven’t read a lot, but this definitely paints a good picture. Certain parts of the book were a little too philosophical but I loved the writing so much that it wasn’t a problem. The cultural symbols in the book were enlightening. I am looking forward to reading his other book called “Essays in Idleness”. I would suggest that you give this book a try, if it sounds interesting at all.
Ratings – 4 stars on 5