The Wild Geese
The Wild Geese, prominent Japanese novelist Ogai Mori offers a poignant story of unfulfilled love, set against the background of the dizzying social change accompanying the fall of the Meiji regime. The young heroine, Otama, is forced by poverty to become a moneylender's mistress. She is surrounded by skillfully-drawn characters—her weak-willed father, her virile and calculating lover (and his suspicious wife), and the handsome student who is both the object of her desire, and the symbol of her rescue—as well as a colorful procession of Meiji era figures—geisha, students, entertainers, unscrupulous matchmakers, shopkeepers, and greedy landladies.
Like those around her, and like the wild geese of the title, Otama yearns for the freedom of flight. Her dawning consciousness of her predicament brings the novel to a touching climax.
Written in 1913, The Wild Geese enjoyed such success in Japan that it was made into a film, shown abroad as The Mistress.