House of the Sleeping Beauties and Other Stories
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House of the Sleeping Beauties and Other Stories

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  2,142 ratings  ·  132 reviews
Nobel prize-winning author Yasunari Kawabata is noted for his combination of a traditional Japanese aesthetic with modernist, often surreal trends. In these three tales, superbly translated by Edward Seidensticker, erotic fantasy is underlaid with longing and memories of past loves.

In the title story, the protagonist visits a brothel where elderly men spend a chaste but le...more
Paperback, 148 pages
Published March 5th 2004 by Kodansha International Ltd (first published 1961)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Ema
I value the books whose plot has managed to stay etched in my mind. Some of the novels I've read are pleasant, but they are soon forgotten. The ones that shape me and teach me are the most valued, of course; but I keep a special place for those that I remember. Kawabata's story is one of those. And incidentally, it talks about memory, among other things. It also speaks about the fear of death and the desire to prolong one's life through the elixir of youth; about regrets and unfulfilled desires...more
Praj
“The aged have death and the young have love, and death comes once, and love comes over and over again”.

To love is a game of a brave heart. To die; a desire of a sullen heart; a definite verb for the inevitable. Akin to the broken heart sitting by the sea, pleading the waves to carry it like a child; the loneliness of old age seeks the black sleet of death. The “ugliness of old age” that whispered in ‘The Sound of the Mountain’, roars in this book like the stormy waves Eguchi hears as he nestles...more
Mariel
Mar 27, 2011 Mariel rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: get real get right
Recommended to Mariel by: award giving peoples
I read House of the Sleeping Beauties with a knife in back. It freaking betrayed to me too much feelings. And... yeah!

I didn't read in order. The book jacket flap said: "The protagonist of Birds and Beasts prefers the company of his pet birds and dogs to people, yet for him all living beings are beautiful objects which, though they give him pleasure, he treats with casual cruelty." For me! Skip to story #3.

Birds and Beasts

Casual cruelty isn't precisely right. Playing god is more like it. They...more
Algernon

I have stayed away from Kawabata until now, out of some misguided belief that he is too gloomy, too downbeat, even suicidal. I am glad to be proven wrong, and to add another literary master to my future reading plans. I started with this novella both because it is a teaser / sampler of his style and because the synopsis sounded like a good companion piece to Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Memories of My Melancholy Whores .

The thematic is indeed similar: old men searching for the company of young wom...more
ياسر حارب
كتاب جميل يغوص في داخل النفس البشرية ويطرح تساؤلات حول رغبات الحياة ولا يخشى من إعطاء أجوبة غير مقنعة. فأحيانا تكون هذه الأجوبة السخيفة هي الأجوبة الصحيحة. ما أعجبني هنا هو أن الكاتب قد وظّف الجنس بطريقة راقية، ولم يبتذل فيه ولم يتجاوز حد الأدب، وأتمنى ممن يستخدمون الجنس في أعمالهم أن يقتدوا به.
استطاع الكاتب أن يُشرّح عقلية من اقترب من الموت ولكن قلبه ما زال ينبض بالحياة، وتمكن من نقل شاب في سنّي ليعيش حالة رجل في آخر الستين من عمره.. يااااه.. أتساءلُ الآن كيف سيكون حالي حينها؟
شكرا لكواباتا

A ver...more
David
I loved the pictures! Does everyone's edition have the great pictures?

Interesting from Persona: A Biography of Yukio Mishima:
"That fall (1962) Mishima edited a 'Kawabata reader' ... In the threesome talk he had with the author and Nakamura Mitsuo to be included in the project, he started by bringing up Kawabata's stories the writer himself was known to dislike '(Of) Birds and Beasts' and '(House of the) Sleeping Beauties', expressing his special fondness for them.
'(Of) Birds and Beasts' deals wi...more
Evan
More taboo erotic sex stuff in the vein of what I've been reading lately. Same guy who wrote "The Lake." Do not put your finger in the mouth of the sleeping girl, the madame warns him. Hmmm.

Well this first tale is quite meticulous in setting the scene, puts a microscope on delicate actions and physical traits. The story, if you can call it that, is a strange one about a prostitution house that caters to impotent old men who pay to sleep and have their ways with young naked girls who've been drug...more
April
*'Other stories' discounted.

I wanted to enjoy this novel far more, I really did. It’s a rarity when I’m not overly impressed with a piece of Japanese fiction, but yes; it happened.

Expressed with fragility and reminiscent, I feel, of Robert Browning’s Porphyria’s Lover, The House of Sleeping Beauties seems to flow like a stream of still images taken directly from a camera; each with a harmonious sanctity about them, as if Kawabata has aligned a row of somewhat mental mannequins. Each ‘sleeping be...more
AC
House of the Sleeping beauties is a novella of astonishing beauty and delicacy. This volume contains two other very short stories which I did not read. But 'House' is as fine and perfect a work as is Snow Country.
John Aubrey
I recently had a playful discussion with a friend about men and romance. She agreed that we men probably do seek romance more than women. Though the conversation was mostly tongue lodged firmly in cheek, it had me remembering Kawabata's haunting novella.

House Of The Sleeping Beauties is one of those stories that everyone loves to retell. It has at least two film versions, the most recent (and my favorite) being Sleeping Beauty with Emily Browning. Yet, all these retellings miss Kawabata's lyric...more
Jill Collins
I adored House of the Sleeping Beauties, the novella is bizarre and disturbing and infinitely lovely. It did make me melancholy, all the talk of death and being at the end of one's life. I'm not certain the young are meant to think of these things. The story is beautiful and haunting, I found it difficult to put down.

The next story, One Arm, was strange to say the least. A girl removes her arm and lends it to the protagonist for one night. There is a lot of feminist discussion regarding the use...more
Gathienology
Tựa tiếng Việt: Người đẹp ngủ mê
Đầu tiên cứ phải nói là tôi không thích [văn hóa] Nhật. Nhưng có một cái gì đó cô đơn, hiu quạnh và rưng rưng trong truyện của Kawabata làm tôi mê mẩn. Câu chuyện mở màn cũng tương tự như "Hồi ức về những cô gái điếm buồn của tôi" của Marquez, chỉ khác là, trong này không có sự dung tục, mạnh mẽ, điên rồ đậm chất Mĩ Latin, mà chỉ có man mác buồn, những dòng hồi ức dào dạt xô về khi một ông già nằm cạnh người đẹp ngủ mê, ngủ như đã chết rồi, để luyến tiếc tuổi trẻ...more
Lede
Didn't enjoy this, I kept imagining myself as those girls that he slept next to and felt up, not helped by Kawabata's love for repetition. The smell of milk when you are breast feeding, the texture of hair and skin, the curve of hips, length of legs, nipple size and colour of all the different girls(because they are cattle, stock). I felt claustrophobic and nauseated, a man who is old enough to be your grandfather testing your virginity, while you are comatose. This is the antithesis of ageing g...more
sevda
погълна ме буквално с първото изречение и когато решавам да си взема почивка за чаша чай + goodreads update за жалост някакво случайно ревю в сайта на Хеликон ми разказва без предупреждение края, което ме кара да изпитам известен яд към автора :)
~
и повестта, и разказа страхотно много ми харесаха.
още с първите изречения на повестта получаваме ключ към един таен и скрит свят. в него всяко нещо има своето пълно отрицание: старостта на главния герой и младите приспани момичета, с които се среща; сп...more
Enrique Peña
Yasunari Kawabata nos devela un secreto. Escrito en pocas páginas, con una ilación que va del momento que vivió al recuerdo, del recuerdo a la sensación vivida en la actualidad. Es “La casa de las Bellas Durmientes”, una novela corta, precisa, con lenguaje acertado y fantásticas imágenes que nos hablan de un anciano que asistía a una casa donde habían hermosas doncellas que dormían.
No hay más allá de eso. Diálogos inteligentes entre la “matrona” del lugar y el anciano, recuerdos con imágenes her...more
Richard
This book, like his Sadness & Beauty, is beautifully written. I love his frugal prose that provides so much visual and emotional detail. The subject matter is incredible and it sounds like he has had first hand experience which is a little weird and sad. But that aside it is a truly amazing portrayal of an old man's dream like visit to his long gone youth. He revisits his youth vicariously through drugged young girls. I needed a few days to think about this one.

Just finished the second story...more
Philippe Malzieu
Viellards sleep with very young girls. There is no sexuality. It is only one night an old man and a very an young girl. That has something of unhealthy. But the style of Kawabata brings us has to think that it is normal. There is something which surprises, it is the total passivity of the girls and inevitably one puts the question: are they doped? How could she support the presence of an old man in the same bed.
The fine tragedy consolidate us in this conviction.
A sensual and venenous book
Keleigh
Kawabata is so masterful at immediately pulling us in, lulling us into a sort of sleepwalking awareness with his ambient descriptions of the house in the night, his slow but even pacing, and the sympathetic but unsparing objectivity with which he regards Eguchi. We get early on that there are secrets and rules to this world, but the specifics are left ambiguous until near the end of the story, when Eguchi considers breaking “the rule of the house” (89) with the dark young girl—followed by a fant...more
Dorin Budusan
This "esoteric masterpiece" as Yukio Mishima describes it, is a very carefully constructed story, about ageing, eroticism, death, youth and memories. The setting is a closed space, the "house of the sleeping beauties" that starts to become more an more tensioned as the story unveils similar to a "submarine in which people are trapped and the air is gradually disappearing" (Yukio Mishima). The story will haunt you long after you've read it. Also I find Edward Seidensticker's translation magnifice...more
thegift
title story is weirdly beautiful, worth the rating by itself, mostly because it is a visually inspired meditation on a favourite subject: woman in all women. not just beauty, but every aspect, every way, every effect, on the aged male narrator. reverse genders, or interested gender, might not work as well. for some reason, saw all of these works as film, preferably elaborated by David Lynch...

http://www.michaelkamakana.com/uncate...
Tim Williams
My comments are directed toward the title novella only. I am so blown away. Maybe it is my age or any of a number of other things, but this story just kept digging deeper and deeper into me as it went. Its about sex without sex. Its about love without love. Its about death without death (of the main character anyway). Its about what it means to be a man by looking at what a woman is - her essence - and even then we get to that essence by going from one to another and never knowing anything about...more
Gustavo Enrique  Ortiz Clavijo
En palabras de Mishima nos enfrentamos con una obra esotérica, que busca traer los sentidos de la memoria, la forma en que nos enfrentamos con los recuerdos pasados y presentes. Nunca la memoria de los sentidos, porque no estamos dentro de esa sinestesia buscada.

La sexualidad y la ritualización, las normas, las rutinas, que en realidad nunca están predichas, preestablecidas, son susceptibles del momento y del placer. Placer entendido como distinto al goce, si se tiene goce no se es de confianza,...more
Elena
¿Puedes conocer a una mujer por observarla y tocarla mientras duerme, aunque ella no puede despertar? La piel me recuerda las flores, los labios a un beso, su juventud a la muerte y sus cabellos al viento. La historia muy original que habla de un hombre que revive alegrías y tristezas por pasar noches con mujeres dormidas. Se puede conseguir por Amazon, para variar los autores japoneses no decepcionan y por sí fuera poco Kawabata es elogiado por Mishima, imaginen cuán bueno es. Súper recomendabl...more
Tara
I discovered that I'd read this book after reading a quote in the front of another book. I remember reading about old Eguchi. I can vividly recall the way he took note of the room and the woman. But I have no recollection of the title, the author, or indeed of reading this book.
And yet I have read it, and can retell the story.
Poetic and explorative. I remember feeling nervous as he entered the room, and as if I were an intruder as he studied the sleeping woman.
I now want to read it again.
Luisa
Splendida edizione SE, ricca di foto e di un bellissimo commento finale. Le storie in sé non sono state il massimo del piacere della lettura, ma sono seminate delle frasi veramente... come dire, alla "Kawabata", solo lui poteva trattare degli argomenti così delicati (come, appunto, il binomio "bellezza\morte")con tanta attenzione.
Stupendo il richiamo ad Akutagawa "Non so quando mi libererò della paura per risolvermi al sucidio" confessava Akutagawa. "So solo che adesso il mondo mi appare più be...more
GONZA
Questo libro e' uno di quei pochi casi in cui la scrittura, le parole che l'autore utilizza e la poesia di alcune frasi, sono state per me piu' importanti della storia, che a conti fatti non mi e' piaciuta poi tanto. Sin troppo onirica e molto angosciante, quasi un viaggio nelle memorie del corpo e, forse, metafora del corpo che invecchia come esempio della perenne metamorfosi della persona. Un po' mi ha anche ricordato il Marquez de "Memorie delle mie puttane tristi", ma quale libro di un vecch...more
Reynaldo
"Los viejos tienen la muerte, y los jóvenes el amor, y la muerte viene una sola vez y el amor muchas veces"

Los cuerpos de las bellas durmientes son un potente espejo que refleja entremezclados la vida y la muerte.

Con los ancianos visitantes de la casa, que ya no pueden ser hombres, no existe riesgo de violar la regla secreta, pero con Eguchi, el deseo de transgredir, una última vez, genera una tensión permanente entre la atracción por la juventud, la virginidad y el erotismo de los inertes cuer...more
Chris
the title story of this book was creepy and weird. i loved it. kawabata is truly a master of autobiographical fiction.
Kenzoboro
نافهمیدنی به زعم من!
جالب نبود!
یک رمان کوتاه و دو داستان کوتاه
خوشم نیومد اصلا
فراس عالم
هاجس الموت الأثير لدى الكتاب اليابانيين
ماذا يفعل رجل عجوز في فراش حسناء نائمة لا تدري عنه شيئاً و لن تذكره في يوم من الأيام؟
ما الآثر الذي سيتركه فيها قبل أن يرحل؟ و ما الأثر الذي تركته فيه بكل عنفوانها الجامح و المتوثب للانطلاق خلف ستار النوم المفتعل؟
مالذي يفعله شبح الموت الكامن خلف السائر الثقيلة المسدلة و الذي يرسل تحياته مع الرياح و البرد و العواصف التي تهز المنزل؟
كم نزيل مات هنا في ذات الفراش الدافئ من قبل؟
ترى هل كان سعيد الحظ؟ أم أنه عانى من آلام العجز و الفقد قبل أن يرحل في صمت و يأس؟
ياسون...more
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La Stamberga dei ...: La casa delle belle addormentate - Yasunari Kawabata 1 3 Feb 19, 2014 03:25AM  
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8550
Yasunari Kawabata (川端 康成) was a Japanese short story writer and novelist whose spare, lyrical, subtly-shaded prose works won him the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1968, the first Japanese author to receive the award. His works have enjoyed broad international appeal and are still widely read.
More about Yasunari Kawabata...
Snow Country Thousand Cranes Beauty and Sadness The Sound of the Mountain The Master of Go

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“A poetess who had died young of cancer had said in one of her poems that for her, on sleepless nights, 'the night offers toads and black dogs and corpses of the drowned.” 24 likes
“Οι γέροι έχουν το θάνατο ενώ οι νέοι έχουν τον έρωτα, ο θάνατος έρχεται μια φορά, ενώ ο έρωτας έρχεται και ξαναέρχεται πολλές φορές.” 2 likes
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