Book review: The Wild Goose by Mori Ogai


The superb Kondansha publication, Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopaedia, has a lengthy entry on Mori Ogai (1862-1922). From a family of “hereditary domain physicians”, he went from medical school into the army as a doctor; studied in Germany from 1884-88; rose through the ranks  of  the army medical corps and became a celebrated novelist and translator in the early modern period of Japanese literature.

He wrote the novella, Gan,  between 1911-13. Now it has made a most welcome transition to English as The Wild Goose in the translation of Meredith McKinney and as a beautiful small book published by the not-for-profit firm of Finlay Lloyd. McKinney has translated Japanese novels into English for Penguin Classics; teaches translation at the Australian National University and has co-translated a selection of poems by her mother, Judith Wright, into Japanese.

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