This _The Lake_ is not as well known as Yasunari's _Master of Go_ or _Snow Country_, but I found it a pleasant and profound reading experience.
It's the story of Ginpei. He is a former schoolteacher who has been dismissed for having a relationship with a student, or making advances to a student. Ginpei is truly pathetic; he is more or less an ordinary guy, but he truly cannot help himself. He follows around women all the time. He is truly seeking some kind of affection from women, and needs a boost to his confidence. He thinks he is ugly, and he had feet which look like the feet of a monkey.
The story itself is not exciting or extraordinary, but Yasunari probes the soul of Ginpei to provide a very interesting character study. Also the author does a very fine job of describing nature, whether it be lakes, trees, streams, etc.
Perhaps this is not the masterpiece by Yasunari. I suppose that title falls to one of the other novels. But _The Lake_ is a good solid novel (although it is short on plot) and not a bad introduction to the author.