Title: The Narrow Road to the Deep North
Author: Matsuo Basho
Page Count/Review Word Count: 167
Matsuo Basho is the Shakespeare of Japan, a wandering poet of the 17th century who’s considered to be the master of haiku. The Narrow Road to the Deep North is an early example of a travel diary, where notes about his travels are presented alongside the haiku that he wrote along the way.
While that might not sound thrilling, and while the comprehensive notes at the end are enough to put anyone off, think of them as optional – the real joy here is the main body of Basho’s work, as intriguing as it is melodic. The innate beauty of Basho’s writing is reflected in the world that he sees around him.
If you haven’t heard of Basho, you should look him up – he’s an unacknowledged hero who influenced a bunch of the writers that you’re in love with.