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Thousand Cranes by Yasunari Kawabata

Thousand Cranes (original 1952; edition 1996)

by Yasunari Kawabata, Edward G. Seidensticker (Translator)

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1,297429,100 (3.82)70
Title:Thousand Cranes
Authors:Yasunari Kawabata
Other authors:Edward G. Seidensticker (Translator)
Info:Vintage (1996), Paperback, 147 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Nobel Prize for Literature

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Thousand Cranes by Yasunari Kawabata (1952)



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English (37)  Spanish (3)  Dutch (2)  All languages (42)
Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
Yasunari Kawabata adheres to some stoic code. He employs the game of Go and tea ceremonies. These are tacit traditional affairs. They mask such terrible behavior. Thousand Cranes depicts self-possession under such threat. This is a novel where tradition attempts to check waves of resentment, and it does to varying results. The events begin in the wake of a man death. His son finds himself at a tea ceremony with his father's two mistresses. Thus begins a series of triangles and slights. Seldom is a voice raised in anger. most of the tension is sublimated into passion, while the deceit of one characters smolders on the outskirts of madness. There are a number of section breaks which push the narrative forward. The young man looks at a tea bowl and recognizes that in its 400 years of existence it has been owned by people with very strange professions. There is little revelation here, only a series of colors and sparse emotional palette well suited for such.
( )
  jonfaith | Feb 22, 2019 |
This is the story of Kikuji, a man whose father's scorned lover Chikako was cast aside for another woman. Although Kikuji's father is no longer alive, Chikako still works for the family and comes occasionally to care for the cottage in which are housed historic and prized bowls and vases used for the tea ceremony. Chikako has designs on whom she'd like Kikuji to marry so she sets up a time and place for Kikuji to see the woman she has in mind. Enter Mrs. Ota, a woman with whom his father lived for many years, and all did not go as Chikako planned.

Like most contemporary Japanese fiction, the tempo of this story is graceful and slow. I love that! It almost reads like a poem because the novel is so short. It infuses beauty (that of fine china and flowers) within the main story line. It incorporates much Japanese culture into how the story unfolds. I would have liked this book a bit more, perhaps, had it not had one scene which made me cringe.

The ending was not what I expected, but then I probably should have made a better guess as to what would happen, taking Japanese culture into account. Take a chance on this short novel. I found it appealing. ( )
  SqueakyChu | Dec 7, 2018 |
I’m not sure I understood half of what happened in this book; it was enjoyable, but left me feeling somewhat untethered myself at the end. If I had read it as a part of a class or had more of a background in Japanese culture, I could probably give a more glowing review with context about what I don’t understand. ( )
  amsee | Dec 1, 2018 |
Another lovely (but not exactly cheerful) Kawabata miniature, a book you can read in the time it takes to sip a couple of mugs of good strong Yorkshire tea, but will leave you sitting there a long time afterwards trying to work out what it was about...

After his parents' death, Mitani Kikuji is disconcerted to find his father's discarded ex-mistress Chikako trying to take their place and run his life for him. Especially when another, more recent ex-mistress turns up, the widow of old Mr Mitani's fellow tea-ceremony enthusiast, Mr Ota. The action of the story takes place over the course of a series of tea-drinkings, each a little less dignified and tranquil than the one before, and everything is played out in the symbolism of centuries-old drinking cups, water jugs, and other paraphernalia. The underlying theme again seems to be the alarming moral and cultural emptiness of a post-war world where it isn't possible to take refuge in the continuity of traditions any more. ( )
  thorold | May 30, 2018 |
1952 short novel by an eventual Nobel laureate. A man in his mid-20s finds himself the heir, of sorts, to his late father's mistresses, in a post-war Japan where the sanctity of the tea ceremony serves as motif. Kikuji is pestered by an older, meddlesome mistress who attempts to arrange a marriage for him, while his father's guilt-wracked final mistress -and her daughter- further entwine Kikuji in his father's legacy. The writing is delicate and highly visual, the mood is sad, sensual. Not sure how much of this story I'll ever remember, but the reading itself was enjoyable. Very likely I will return to the author. ( )
  ThoughtPolice | Oct 3, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (14 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Yasunari Kawabataprimary authorall editionscalculated
Komatsu, FumiIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ouwehand, C.Afterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ouwehand, C.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Seidensticker, Edward G.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Even when he reached Kamakura and the Engakuji Temple, Kikuji did not know whether or not he would go to the tea ceremony.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
fine depiction of life in a period randomly captured without pain.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0679762655, Paperback)

With a restraint that barely conceals the ferocity of his characters' passions, one of Japan's great postwar novelists tells the luminous story of Kikuji and the tea party he attends with Mrs. Ota, the rival of his dead father's mistress. A tale of desire, regret, and sensual nostalgia, every gesture has a meaning, and even the most fleeting touch or casual utterance has the power to illuminate entire lives--sometimes in the same moment that it destroys them. Translated from the Japanese by Edward G. Seidensticker.

"A novel of exquisite artistry...rich suggestibility...and a story that is human, vivid and moving."--New York Herald Tribune

Kawabata is a poet of the gentlest shades, of the evanescent, the imperceptible. This is a tragedy in soft focus, but its passions are fierce."--Commonweal

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:51 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

A young man is involved briefly with the two mistresses of his dead father and with the daughter of one of them.

(summary from another edition)

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