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Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata

Snow Country (1935)

by Yasunari Kawabata

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,015493,329 (3.76)130

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English (46)  French (3)  All languages (49)
Showing 1-5 of 46 (next | show all)
Kawabata has a knack for saying a lot in very few words. I like all of his books, but if you read only one by him, this is the one you should choose. Made me wish I could read Japanese, but even in translation it is sublime. ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
between 2.5 and 3, all because the quality of the language is so beautiful. it's such a quiet, soft book; the words all fall on this bed of snow that exists in the snow country and land so gently.

the language is what carries this book. he writes so sparsely, and this works for the poetry of it, the cadence, and the beauty. but it makes it hard to follow sometimes, or to know who is speaking or why. there is a lot left out and if you're reading for more than the language, that can be tough. still, this is pretty lovely.

"'I couldn't possibly write the sort of letter your wife would see. I couldn't bring myself to. I don't tell lies just because people might be listening.'"

"If man had a tough, hairy hide like a bear, his world would be different indeed, Shimamura thought. It was through a thin, smooth skin that man loved."

"The mountains, more distant each day as the russet of the autumn leaves had darkened, came brightly back to life with the snow.

The cedars, under a thin coating of snow, rose sheer from the white ground to the sky, each cut off sharply from the rest." ( )
  elisa.saphier | Dec 14, 2015 |
This novella, set in Japan's mountainous country, tells of a dilettante Tokyo man drawn to an amateur geisha. It's a consequential or inconsequential book - lives are lived and deaths are recounted. I very strongly felt alienated from the story and its painterly construction, and felt the lack of a contextual apparatus within which to experience the book. Not understanding the world of the geisha, the way in which Japanese houses and towns work, social norms etc made the events of this book for me take place in a cultural vacuum. Experiencing the alien can be a valuable gift of the novellist, but this time it felt like a step too far.
1 vote otterley | May 6, 2015 |
I absolutely loved this book. On the surface, nothing much seems to be going on. Shimamura, a man of leisure who has inherited so much wealth that he doesn't need to work, spends long stretches of time in a hot spring town with Komako, a local geisha, leaving his wife and children in Tokyo. Neither Shimamura nor Komako know or will acknowledge what they want from life. Both lack energy, drifting along, reacting to events rather than controlling them, or controlling them through inaction. Beneath the surface is the potential for passion, but neither possesses the motivation to act. The book is dreamlike in the way it jumps around and seems to have meaning without saying anything clearly. The dysfunctional relationships across the piece intrigue and frustrate equally. The prose is beautiful, with rich descriptions of time and place, like an extended haiku. I found it quite cinematic. ( )
  missizicks | May 2, 2015 |
I know that this is supposed to be Kawabata's finest work, but it didn't appeal all that much to me. What I liked about it was the description of the snow country. However, had I not read the introduction to the book, I would have missed out on the significance of this area of Japan. I also didn't care too much for the fact that the whole book was about how a married man with children spent his time traveling to and remaining with geisha Komako. I realize that this is a cultural thing. I'm also not sure what the message of this book is. The ending didn't prove satisfactory one way or the other. I have enjoyed others works by Kawabata, but this was not among those I like the best. ( )
  SqueakyChu | Jan 7, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 46 (next | show all)
Snow Country is a work of beauty and strangeness, one of the most distinguished and moving Japanese novels to have appeared in this country.
added by GYKM | editNew York Herald Tribune

» Add other authors (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Yasunari Kawabataprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Durán, CésarTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gergely ÁgnesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kivimeis, YrjöTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lamberti, LucaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nagae, Neide HissaeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ouwehand, C.Afterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ouwehand, C.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Seidensticker, Edward G.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The train came out of the long tunnel into the snow country.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0679761047, Paperback)

To this haunting novel of wasted love, Kawabata brings the brushstroke suggestiveness and astonishing grasp of motive that earned him the Nobel Prize for Literature. As he chronicles the affair between a wealthy dilettante and the mountain geisha who gives herself to him without illusions or regrets, one of Japan's greatest writers creates a work that is dense in implication and exalting in its sadness.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:27 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

With the brushstroke suggestiveness and astonishing grasp of motive that won him the Nobel Prize for Literature, Yasunari Kawabata tells a story of wasted love set amid the desolate beauty of western Japan, the snowiest region on earth. It is there, at an isolated mountain hotspring, that the wealthy sophisticate Shimamura meets the geisha Komako, who gives herself to him without regrets, knowing that their passion cannot last. Shimamura is a dilettante of the feelings; Komako has staked her life on them. Their affair can have only one outcome. Yet, in chronicling its doomed course, one of Japan's greatest modern writers creates a novel dense in implication and exalting in its sadness.… (more)

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