- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: Vintage (Jan. 30 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0679761055
- ISBN-13: 978-0679761051
- Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 1.4 x 20.3 cm
- Shipping Weight: 200 g
- Average Customer Review: 11 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #123,464 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Beauty and Sadness Paperback – Jan 30 1996
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About the Author
Yasunari Kawabata was born in Osaka in 1899. In 1968 he became the first Japanese writer to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature. One of Japan’s most distinguished novelists, he published his first stories while he was still in high school, graduating from Tokyo Imperial University in 1924. His short story “The Izu Dancer,” first published in 1925, appeared in The Atlantic Monthly in 1955. Kawabata authored numerous novels, including Snow Country (1956), which cemented his reputation as one of the preeminent voices of his time, as well as Thousand Cranes (1959), The Sound of the Mountain (1970), The Master of Go (1972), and Beauty and Sadness (1975). He served as the chairman of the P.E.N. Club of Japan for several years and in 1959 he was awarded the Goethe Medal in Frankfurt. Kawabata died in 1972.
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Kawabata weaves a wonderful story and its title describes it perfectly. The story begins with the writer Oki Toshio. In his younger days Oki had a love affair with a young girl named Otoko. Their affair produced a child, but unfortunately the child was born premature and died shortly after birth. The death of the child caused Otoko to suffer a nervous breakdown and she was put into a mental asylum. Her mother told Oki that Otoko would soon be better but it would probably be better if Oki did not see her again. Warp 20 or so years into the future. Oki decides to see Otoko again at New Years, so he hops a train to go see his ex lover. Otoko worried about Oki's arrival hires a couple of geisha to entertain them. Also her protoge Keiko is there. I believe Keiko to be the main character in the story.
Keiko is not only Otoko's student but her lover as well. Keiko is angered about how Oki treated Otoko so many years ago, and wants to seek revenge against her teacher's ex lover. Otoko still harbors a strong love for Oki but is not assured enough to keep Keiko from plotting against Oki. Keiko is extraordinarilly charming and beautiful, and although a lesbian she manipulates males very easily. She seduces Oki and his son Taichiro, the reader knows something bad is going to happen to Oki or one of his loved ones early on, and he or she just wonders how it will finally happen.
Another beautiful book by Kawabata. Few writers come close to his descriptions of landscapes or his very evocative writing of the human form. Very good book please read it.
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