'The curtain veiling the mysterious things called the past rending itself in two and reflecting ghostly light over the twentieth century is the tower of london.'
In October 1900, a brilliant but largely unknown Japanese scholar arrived in London to commence two years of intense study. The scholar would later become the most celebrated Japanese writer of all time, Natsume Soseki, and produce a dazzling collection of novels, memoirs, criticism and short stories that form the bedrock of modern Japanese literature. The spectacle of a Japanese visitor to Victorian London was a rare one, and Soseki's acute observations contain unique snapshots of London life. Against the backdrop of these images, Soseki develops profound reflections on universal themes. The river Thames is transformed into the river Styx; the Tower of London becomes a gateway to the Underworld; mysterious boarding houses and the spirits of the dead are encountered through relics and memoir; time itself is regained and explored. This new translation provides the perfect introduction to the work of one of the world's greatest authors, accompanied for the first time with a comprehensive critical introduction, and a wry fictional account of a meeting between Soseki and Sherlock Holmes.