Lisa's Reviews > Thousand Cranes

Thousand Cranes by Yasunari Kawabata
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's review
Jul 20, 13

bookshelves: japanese-literature, nobel-winners, 20th-century-classics
Recommended to Lisa by: No one
Recommended for: those who like japanese literature and culture, readers of Chekov
Read from March 06 to 25, 2011 — I own a copy, read count: 1

Yasunari Kawabata's quintessential Japanese masterpiece tells the love story of a young man, Mitani Kikuji who passively becomes involved in an affair with his now dead father's mistress, Mrs. Ota. After Mrs. Ota's death, he transfers his fasciantion to her daughter. In the mix is another of his father's former mistresses, a meddling woman whose disfiguring black birthmark suggest the very toxins that jealousy has bred in her. Her goal is to interfere with any relationship that Kikuji might have with the Ota women and to arrange a marriage with another young lady. No matter how repelled he is by this woman, no matter how unnerved be is by her machinations, Kikuji remains impassive, unable to rid himself of her. Both Kikuji and Fumiko Ota are crippled by their parents' loves and guilt. In fact, the themes of love and guilt throb in every single word.

Thousand Cranes is marked by Kawabata' penchant for the subtle. Perhaps as a Westerner, there are some symbols that I missed, especially in the description of the tea ceremony and the tea utensils. That aside, despite its seeming blankness there is a powerful fullness and depth which remind me of the visual aesthetics set forth in In Praise of Shadows by Junichiro Tanazaki. It is tempting to compare the two writers as they were contemporaries, but as sublime as Tanazaki is, he is redolent in comparison to Kawabata.


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Reading Progress

03/19/2011 page 30

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