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Posts Tagged ‘Yasunari Kawabata’

My second Yasunari Kawabata book in succession. This time it is ‘Thousand Cranes‘. The edition I read has been translated by Edward Seidensticker, who also translated the great Murasaki Shikibu’sThe Tale of Genji‘, the world’s first novel. So I was doubly excited!

In ‘Thousand Cranes‘, a twenty-five year old man is invited for a tea ceremony, by his father’s former mistress. His father has passed away recently. Of course, this kind of meeting never goes as expected. In this particular meeting, another of his father’s mistresses turns up unexpectedly. And then, as happens in a typical Kawabata book, this leads to the Pandora’s Box being opened and all kinds of unexpected surprises start happening. You should read the book to find out what happened next 🙂

Thousand Cranes‘ is vintage Kawabata. It is slim at around 100 pages. There is an unexpected meeting at the beginning, which leads to unexpected events orchestrated by interesting, imperfect characters, which leads to an unexpected ending. I loved the depiction of the relationship between two of the main characters, Kikuji and Fumiko. For want of a better word, I’ll call it a beautiful love story, with lots of things unsaid. I was hoping that this love story would have a happy ending, but Kawabata-San does something strange in the end and I can’t tell whether it was happy or sad. Kawabata’s prose is lyrical and delicate and the description of the Japanese tea ceremony and the way it is intertwined with the story, is a pleasure to read.

I enjoyed reading ‘Thousand Cranes‘. This is the last Yasunari Kawabata book in my collection. Hoping to add more of his books to my collection and read them.

Have you read ‘Thousand Cranes‘? What do you think about it?

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I read my first Yasunari Kawabata book a couple of years back. It was called ‘Snow Country‘. I thought it was time to read my next Kawabata book now. I picked ‘Beauty and Sadness‘.

In ‘Beauty and Sadness‘, a middle aged writer in his fifties, who lives in Tokyo, decides to travel to Kyoto and spend the New Year Eve there. He wants to ring in the New Year Eve there by listening to the bells of the temples. He also has another agenda there. He hopes to meet his former lover who lives there. She is a painter and she is famous, and they haven’t met in nearly twenty four years. Of course, this kind of search for the past is always beset with danger. It opens a Pandora’s Box and one thing leads to another and – well, read the book to find out what happens next 🙂

Beauty and Sadness‘ is a slim book at around 140 pages. I read it in a day. Yasunari Kawabata’s prose is lyrical and flows serenely like a river. His descriptions of nature and art are beautiful and delicate. The characters who make their appearance in the story are complex and imperfect and flawed and beautiful and endlessly fascinating. No one can accuse Kawabata of creating simple, caricature-ish characters – his characters are all real flesh-and-blood human beings with real feelings and imperfections. I wasn’t sure about the ending of the book and why it was the way it was. Sometimes it is hard to understand the ending of a story.

I enjoyed reading ‘Beauty and Sadness‘. I can’t wait to read my next Kawabata book, hopefully ‘Thousand Cranes‘. I will leave you with one of my favourite passages from the book.

“Time passed. But time flows in many streams. Like a river, an inner stream of time will flow rapidly at some places and sluggishly at others, or perhaps even stand hopelessly stagnant. Cosmic time is the same for everyone, but human time differs with each person. Time flows in the same way for all human beings; every human being flows through time in a different way.”

Have you read Yasunari Kawabata’sBeauty and Sadness‘? What do you think about it?

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