The Lake
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The Lake

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  562 ratings  ·  48 reviews
The Lake is the history of an obsession. It traces a man's sad pursuit of an unattainable perfection, a beauty out of reach, admired from a distance, unconsummated. Homeless, a fugitive from an ambiguous crime, his is an incurable longing that drives him to shadow nameless women in the street and hide in ditches as they pass above him, beautiful and aloof. For their beauty...more
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published 1974 by Kodansha International (first published 1954)
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The Stranger by Albert CamusOne Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcí­a MárquezThe Old Man and the Sea by Ernest HemingwayOf Mice and Men by John SteinbeckLord of the Flies by William Golding
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Mariel
Apr 23, 2011 Mariel rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lost and found
Recommended to Mariel by: every breath I take
Shelves: my-love-life
"Have you ever had that experience... a feeling of profound regret after passing some stranger in the street? I've had it often. I think to myself, 'What a delightful looking person!' or 'What a beautiful woman!' or 'I've never seen anyone quite as attractive as that before.' It happens when I'm just strolling around the streets, or sitting next to a stranger in the theatre or walking down the steps from a concert hall. But once they've gone, I know I'll probably never meet them again in my life...more
Ian Paganus
I’ll Find You

I’ve just read three Kawabata works in succession to try and appreciate the merits of this Nobel Prize Winner.

Based on one fairly distracted reading, I have to say that this was the weakest of the three novels.

I would probably rate it at three stars, possibly 3 ½, but I’ll increase it to four, because of the quality of the prose.

Less than Exquisite Fantasy

The prose is precise and economical, insofar as it describes external realities. It is as graceful and evocative as brush strokes...more
Praj


To the singing oars,
Jump the watery imp,
Moon-lit skies wake,
Tender palms aglow,
Lonely hearts to split,
Weeping willows below,
Cages with open doors,
Fireflies over the lake.

On a nearby tree, the screeching became louder with every passing minute. I knew it then, it was already past midnight. The bats were probably having a little party; for once their pairs of lustrous eyes were not being meticulously counted by a silly woman amid the flickering of the street light. I did not care about these noctu...more
Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
Wow, that was dark.

None of Kawbata's books that I've read so far have been what you'd call light-hearted. But it felt to me as if this one plumbed depths of the human spirit that even Kawabata didn't usually descend to in his fiction.

The technique of this novel plays around with linear narrative, giving us the whole picture of a sad, twisted man's life and psyche in bits and pieces, saving some crucial revelations for the very end while circling around motifs whose meaning is only gradually el...more
Karlo Mikhail
The Lake by Yasunari Kawabata begins with a fugitive entering a bath. He is Gimpei, a self-conscious old man with ugly feet who was suspended from teaching for seducing his teenage student. Gimpei recently took a bag dropped by a woman containing two hundred thousand yen and ran away from home, fearing the police will be after him.

Fragmented scenes and memories flashed in his head while he was bathed by the establishment’s pretty attendant. The voice and the body of the young girl stirred up his...more
David
In my head, Kawabata is the kindly, elegant grandfather of J. fiction, writing novels about the light falling across scrolls in tokonoma alcoves.

But then I pick up a book and remember "Oh, yes. 'Japanese mental' didn't start with Mishima or Oe."

"The Lake": Do you remember Patrick Swayze's character sobbing in his "kiddie-porn dungeon" at the end of "Donnie Darko"? This is the Japanese literary equivalent of those two seconds of American cinema.

Certainly with his later works that were serialised...more
Samir Rawas Sarayji
The Lake is the second book of Nobel laureate Kawabata that I have read. Unlike the House of the Sleeping Beauties and Other Stories, which I thought to be a remarkable text particularly the title story, The Lake came across as a frustrating work in terms of style.

Briefly, it is the story of a homeless stalker, Gimpei, who follows certain women that he finds posses a certain quality of beauty. What we know of Gimpei is that he was a former school teacher until he stalked one of his students, and...more
Michael
according to goodreads statistics, みづうみ is read to only a tenth the degree of Kawabata's other works, and perhaps justifiably so. if Kawabata's masterpieces are "works one must read before one dies," it's possible to go through life without ever reading Mizuumi, but why? a classic Kawabata in that every word counts, and the overall effect is just as powerful as any single word-choice. a sea of impressions that is somehow powerfully united, and capable of eliciting the strongest feeling in those...more
Brian
Feb 12, 2009 Brian rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Brian by: Desi
Shelves: read-2009, asian, nobel
Kawabata is still one of my favorite Japanese authors. I planned my trip to Kyoto by reading The Old Capital. I learned about the meditative quality of the game Go in The Master of Go. And in A Thousand Cranes Kawabata taught me about the tea ceremony and love. Now, after finishing The Lake I possess understanding of ugly feet and the beauty of young girls.

I've heard people complain about this book; about it's subject matter. I've heard say it was one of Kawabata's worse efforts. And I just don'...more
Evan
Something serendipitous about coming to Yasunari Kawabata's 1974 short novel, "The Lake" pretty much by accident [just grabbed it off the shelf on a whim while looking for some Mishima books:], especially after having read Tanizaki's "The Key" and Marquez's "...Melancholy Whores" and Duras' "The Lover," because yet again we have older male figures trying to sustain their own fading youth in the company of younger women. The ostensible protagonist of this book is an unwitting thief, and the first...more
Traveller
Jun 01, 2012 Traveller marked it as to-read
Oh, lookie what I just by chance found last night when dusting off a shelf of books I had inherited from my father's library without looking at the titles properly!

A 1974 first edition copy!

I'll definitely be hanging on to this, dust or no dust!

It's a hardcover with a dust jacket and all. Can you believe I never noticed it before!
Ernest Junius
as any of Kawabata's book. you can't read it once, you must read it at least twice to completely understand it (well maybe it's just me, I am a bit dim you see). I read this with mixed emotions. of course at some points, I feel sad, and sentimental, at other point I feel something funny about the story—literally funny. maybe I still don't understand it completely.

pretty much, it is a story about a sad male character that adores beauty (or you can say, he is into a pursuit of beauty), as he keep...more
max
One can understand why Mishima Yukio was willing to nominate the older Kawabata for the Nobel Prize, a campaign that culminated in the first Japanese winner of the award in 1967. _The Lake_, first published in Japan in 1954, takes the great Japanese literary theme of illicit desire, experienced as religious fervor and bearing the threat of great shame and social ostracization. It also bridges these themes into the 20th century, opening them for exploitation for the next generation of Japanese wr...more
Laura  Yan
This is a very strange book--a very Japanese book, in style, and perhaps, slightly in substance. I've never read Kawabata before, but I guess this is supposed to be a bit of a departure from his usual works. Though it is unusual, it is not dark in the way that I anticipated. The narrator is an obsessive man, a stalker, who narrates the present and weaves it with a series of interwoven scenes from his past. The writing is minimalist, yet ethereal, and the novel itself is dreamlike(also, very shor...more
Sara
Not quite up to Snow Country standards in terms of subtle, flawless writing but honestly nothing is. It's still Kawabata so it's beautifully written, and the main character is such a fucking weirdo that it's basically enough to carry the whole book. Probably my third favorite after snow country and house of sleeping beauties. I liked it a little better than 1000 cranes. I think I'm going to read master of go next. What a writer.
Melita
I love this book. Perhaps there will be readers who can't stomach the idea of reading a book about a neurotic man's obsession with the beauty of adolescent girls, but it is so much than that. Reality for Gimpei is horribly ugly and grotesque just like his hideous deformed feet that he is obsessed with beauty embodied by adolescent girls, rather than letting beauty fleet by he pursues it.
Ali Alghanim
اسلوب روائي فريد ،تتداخل فيه الشخصيات كقطع " البزل " ،فعليك أن تكون حذرا ،متحفزا كي لا تسقط قطعة منها. .اﻷحداث بسيطة لكنها غنية بالتفاصيل و الحوارات العميقة السلسة.
شاب في منتصف الثلاثين من عمره ينهمك في مطاردة الفتيات.

- نال الكاتب جائزة نوبل لﻵداب عام 1986 على هذه الرواية.

* إن سرا نحتفظ به يكون مشبعا بالرقة ،مليئا بالسعادة. و عندما يتسرب يصبح متعطشا للانتقام كأنه إبليس!
Polina
Espace. Karuizawa (visite des bains, événement le plus récent), différents quartiers de Tôkyô (différentes épisodes de la vie de Gimpei), village natal de la mère de Gimpei et lac à sa proximité (époque où Gimpei était enfant).
Temps. Les événements du roman et les souvenirs des personnages recouvrent une période d'environ 22 ans (12 ans-34 ans de Gimpei). L'époque où Gimpei était étudiant correspond aux années de la guerre.
Personnages principaux.
Gimpei Momoï, 34 ans. Un homme sans famille ni fo...more
Nikos79
I have read some really great reviews about "The lake" here in goodreads which I fully enjoyed. I finished this book yesterday in a single sitting and although I liked it, I cannot share the same excitement with other people for it. I think "The house of sleeping beauties" which I have read before it's a better book. Maybe, if I had this half star option I would have given it for a 3,5. Anyway, it's a well written book, Kawabata's prose is wonderful and while reading it you get a sense of melanc...more
Lorena Francisca
La terrible historia de Gimpei se mezcla con otras historias que finalmente serán unidas por circunstancias sin trascendencia alguna. Todas éstas resultarán unidas por la decadencia del protagonista, el cual, angustiado por sus pies deformes, buscará la belleza de las jovencitas tal capullo que recién comienza a vivir.

El lirismo de Kawabata se muestra de forma sublime. Tanto así que el final de esta novela es lo que menos nos interesa, al final pasa desapercibido ante nuestros ojos, tan pedestre...more
Paul
Good writing, but topically dark and depressing. I don't think I would have read this novel were it not such a quick read. There is no charm or enjoyment in visiting Gimpei's head space, but there were some redeeming prose-moments to make it worthwhile.
Julissa Flores
Ok! No sé japonés así que el comentario de va en español. Una historia bastante extraña he de decir, no mala, sino que diferente. Al ser los autores asiáticos es probable que muchos no entendamos de buenas a primeras el significado de lo que dicen. Si algo me gusta de los escritores japoneses es que no van en busca que los demás entiendan a plenitud lo que quieren escribir. Siempre dejan el misterio de por qué escribieron las cosas. En este caso Gimpei me parece un personaje bastante confuso, y...more
Shorouq


كنت وما زلت أعتقد أن الأدب الياباني هو الأكثر شفافية ومصداقية
يتمكن الكتاب اليابانيون بسهولة من خلق فصول الرواية من أحداث بسيطة جدا وتفاصيل يندر أن يلاحظها الآخرون.

تتحدث الرواية عن "جيمبي" المصاب بمرض في قدميه يحمله على ملاحقة الفتيات الجميلات، وتحدث المفارقة الأخيرة حين تقوم إحداهن بتتبعه.
أحداثها تتداخل بطريقة غريبة جدا، تجعلك تحس أحيانا أنك في حلم، تنتقل من مكان إلى آخر ومن الأفكار الشخصية لإحدى الشخصيات إلى أخرى دون أن تشعر بالنقلة الزمانية أو المكانية أو حتى تشك في وجودها.

الرواية بسيطة جدا من
...more
لميس يوسف
قرأت هذه الرواية المزعجة عدة مرات ولم افهمها. شعرت بأنها هلوسات كاتب تحت تأثير مخدر ما!!
Alison
read three of this author's books in the last few days. very compelling read.
Rose
Aug 27, 2008 Rose rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Japanese literature aficionados
Shelves: japan, literature, novels
I know Kawabata is a titan of Japanese literature but the subject matter of this particular work did not reach me. There were some interesting Japanese concepts of idealized, socially constructed femininity being explored here but otherwise I was turned off by the protagonist's borderline pathological behavior. I think I'll go read another Kawabata novel for good measure and see how I feel about his works in general because I did appreciate his writing style and intellectual exploration of certa...more
Eadweard
What a creepy and strange little book, very different from the usual Kawabata.
Jim
For whatever reasons - cultural perhaps - I didn't like this book. The Village Voice was quoted as saying that it would catch the reader's imagination from the first page, but I re-read several sections in the hope of finding something memorable without success. There was nothing "shocking", as described by the New York Times Book Review. The scenes seemed contrived. They didn't hold together. Kawabata was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature so let's hope he has written something better than...more
Ametista
La narrazione si apre con l'immagine di Ginpei che si reca in un bagno turco, a farsi massagiare da una giovane ragazza, nel mentre l'uomo si fa travolgere dai suoi ricordi come fumi colorati di sensualità.
L'intero racconto è un'alternarsi e mischiarsi di vecchi ricordi con il presente. Con la mente, Ginpei ripercorrei le strade in cui ha inseguito donne per cui ha provato attrazione.
Un racconto carico di nostalgia e dolcezza...
Penelope Mascardi
Una donna sottomessa ad un anziano misogino, un giovane senza amore ed ossessionato dalle donne, le insegue per strada. Malinconia, tristezza, ricordi di una vita.
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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...
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“إن العمل الشائن المقترف يرتبط بمقترفه، ويحكم عليه باقتراف أعمال شائنة أخرى، هكذا تتكون العادات السيئة.” 5 likes
“A secret, if it’s kept, can be sweet and comforting, but once it leaks out it can turn on you with a vengeance.” 2 likes
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