Osamu Dazai

The Setting Sun

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This powerful novel of a nation in social and moral crisis was first published by New Directions in 1956.
Set in the early postwar years, it probes the destructive effects of war and the transition from a feudal Japan to an industrial society.
ReviewNovel by Dazai Osamu, published in 1947 as Shayo. It is a tragic, vividly painted story of life in postwar Japan. The narrator is Kazuko, a young woman born to gentility but now impoverished. Though she wears Western clothes, her outlook is Japanese; her life is static, and she recognizes that she is spiritually empty. In the course of the novel she survives the deaths of her aristocratic mother and her sensitive, drug-addicted brother Naoji, an intellectual ravaged by his own and by society's spiritual failures. She also spends a sad, sordid night with the dissipated writer Uehara, and she conceives a child in the hope that it will be the first step in a moral revolution. — The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature
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145 printed pages
Original publication



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    Monicahas quoted2 years ago
    Just because a person has a title doesn't make him an aristocrat. Some people are great aristocrats who have no other title than the one that nature has bestowed on them, and others like us, who have nothing but titles, are closer to being pariahs than aristocrats.
    nonhas quoted2 months ago
    We will live in perpetual struggle with the old morality, like the sun.
    nonhas quoted2 months ago
    but if you will please try to think of my joy at being liberated completely from the suffering of living and this hateful life itself, I believe that your sorrow will gradually dissolve.

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