On the Narrow Road: A Journey into Lost Japan

by Lesley Downer

Hardcover, 1989




Summit Books (1989), 280 pages


The author retraces the journey in 1689 of Matsuo Basho, described in his Oku no hosomichi = The narrow road to the deep north.

User reviews

LibraryThing member Seajack
British author retraces the footsteps of legendary 17th Century Japanese writer Basho. She does a good job of contrasting the past and present, though the literary/historical references did bog down things slightly at times for me; readers with a background in those areas should find this book a real treat!
LibraryThing member Welshwoman
I love this book and have read it so many times over the years. Lesley Downer's travels in the footsteps of Matsuo Basho are touching and amusing at times.
LibraryThing member missizicks
On the Narrow Road to the Deep North is Lesley Downer's first book, a travelogue that reveals small town and rural Japan in the late 1980s, a place that's a world away from the Japan of popular thought. Downer had lived in Japan a decade earlier, and had studied the language and history of the country. Her depth of knowledge coupled with her engaging writing makes this a gem of a book. She takes her lead from the poet Matsuo Basho, following in his footsteps 300 years after his pilgrimage into the Deep North. On her trip, Downer lets go of the comforts and reassurances of modern life and allows herself to experience Basho's world. She is welcomed into the homes of different people, experiencing the joy of being made a part of their lives for however short a time. I loved the way this book transported me out of my immediate surroundings and into another world. That's what all good travel writing should do.… (more)


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