The Pequod Review:

Natsume Soseki (1867-1916) began writing fiction at the fairly late age of 38, and over the course of only eleven years produced an impressive collection of novels and short stories. His best works are masterpieces of style — intricately written with eloquent turns of phrase — and frequently involve desperately lonely protagonists struggling through life in search of happiness.

Botchan is one of his most popular novels, and is narrated by the title character, an urbane and cynical young man from Tokyo who is sent to the rural district of Matsuyama to work as a math teacher. Inspired by Soseki’s own experience as a middle school teacher in Matsuyama, the book is not merely a coming-of-age story about Botchan but also has deeper themes of modernization and the urbanization of Japanese society. While the book is less developed and has rougher prose than Soseki’s later books, it has a breezy style and several very funny scenes that make it an enjoyable read.