Snow Country

Kawabata, Yasunari. Snow Country. New York: Vintage International, 1996.

Read any review of Snow Country and you will find people making comparisons to a haiku or to music. Kawabata’s descriptions are like water, flowing easily from page to page, but indeed like water very powerful. The details of the story are like music, lilting and magical and sometimes, more often than not, sorrowful. The story itself is very stark. It’s the relationship between a wealthy businessman and his snow country geisha. Their relationship is complicated by an imbalance of feelings. She cares for him more passionately then he does for her. In fact, his feelings are as cold as the winter countryside. It is frustrating at times to know they will never bridge the cultural or emotional gap…until you remember he is married.

Favorite lines, “He knew that if he spoke he would only make himself seem the more wanting in seriousness” (p 15).

Even though I have complained about reading translations there is also something cool about learning new words like “kotatsu” which is a small heating device.

Reason read: March is supposedly one of the best times to visit Japan.

Author fact: Yasunari Kawabata has won the Nobel Prize for Literature.

BookLust Twist: From Book Lust in the chapter called “Japanese Fiction” (p 131).



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