Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Snow Country” as Want to Read:
Snow Country
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Snow Country

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  15,409 ratings  ·  1,434 reviews
Nobel Prize recipient Yasunari Kawabata's Snow Country is widely considered to be the writer's masterpiece, a powerful tale of wasted love set amid the desolate beauty of western Japan.

At an isolated mountain hot spring, with snow blanketing every surface, Shimamura, a wealthy dilettante meets Komako, a lowly geisha. She gives herself to him fully and without remorse, desp
...more
Paperback, 175 pages
Published 1996 by Vintage (first published 1947)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Snow Country, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Joanna K You will find a copy in almost every bigger bookstore in the UK :) I was looking for it in second-hand bookshops but had little luck.
Rebecca This book is short but very poetic. Pretty simple but with some sad undertones at the relationships and their possibilities or impossibilities. I…moreThis book is short but very poetic. Pretty simple but with some sad undertones at the relationships and their possibilities or impossibilities. I enjoyed it overall. Very lovely.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Rating details
Sort: Default
|
Filter
Dolors
Feb 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Use your imagination
Shelves: read-in-2015, asian, dost
Shimamura gets on a train to dreamland. He escapes from the urbanity of Tokyo, from the grayish routine, the dull marriage, the mediocre reality that leaves him numb and empty in search of the purest expression of his desires. He is a dilettante, an expert aesthetician who knows that beauty lingers in memory of times past, on the glint of two sad eyes sparkling in a pale face, in a head tilted at a certain angle, in fragrances and sounds and the noiseless rippling waves that assimilate a caress. ...more
Jim Fonseca
Sep 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: japanese-authors
If you like a “ski” read instead of a “beach” read, this is for you! The setting is the western mountain slopes of northern Japan, one of the snowiest regions of the world – up to 15 feet of winter snow is common. In the town, the overhangs of buildings over the sidewalks form a tunnel through the snow in winter.

description

We are told in the translator’s Introduction that the snow country geisha catering to the ski lodge and hot spring clientele in winter are second class geisha compared to the urban geish
...more
Seemita
Mar 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Winter Wanderers with something to lose
I am white, mostly. And cold. And occasionally, weeping. But you don’t see my tears, for they run down the stream and lose their essence at the prolonged kiss of the first sun. But I do not mind. I come alive to die; I bulk up to surrender; I appear to vanish. But I, too, have admirers. Admirers, who eye ephemeral beauty with a stinging lacquer of depleting life, colluding their vision with a bagful of clouded vignettes stroking the air that arises after all is consumed and lost.

Visiting Japan
...more
Garima
Aug 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
turn this way!
I too feel lonely
late in autumn
~ Basho's Haiku

As if on a winter’s night a traveler, travels to a distant land, where the snow falls even on the maple leaves. Where lovers part to meet and meet to part. Where love is nothing but a mirrored reality or a fogged illusion. Where one heart has room only for the pleasure of regaining what had been lost and another voice is so beautiful that it’s almost lonely and sad. Where some deaths are tiny but invoke immense poetry and several lives
...more
Richard Derus
May 26, 2011 rated it liked it
Rating: 3.5* of five

The Publisher Says: Nobel Prize winner Yasunari Kawabata’s Snow Country is widely considered to be the writer’s masterpiece: a powerful tale of wasted love set amid the desolate beauty of western Japan.

At an isolated mountain hot spring, with snow blanketing every surface, Shimamura, a wealthy dilettante meets Komako, a lowly geisha. She gives herself to him fully and without remorse, despite knowing that their passion cannot last and that the affair can have only one outcome
...more
Ian "Marvin" Graye
Shimamura’s Tale Part I

The Milky Way
Sits high above
Mountain country,
Illuminating
Villages below.
Stardust falls
Earthbound,
Until, frozen,
It becomes
White snowflakes
That shroud the ground,
Two meters deep.
My hands reach out
Towards the winter sky,
Hoping I might catch
A star in each hand.
For a moment,
They’re in my grasp.
I adore them
Like they’re lovers
That I can keep.
My desire doesn't
Require that
I make a choice.
Sometimes, it’s true,
You can have both.
But the angry fire
In my selfish heart
Melts my lovi
...more
Jr Bacdayan
Aug 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Never have I had such intense desire to prolong a novel, not until I read this. I am a man of literature. It is in my blood to have the highest respect for the writer and to consider the work sacred, thus I never impose my will on the material even if the end is left open for the imagination to play upon. I purposely hold myself back and stop where the cliff ends, I do not take the leap into the unknown abyss. However today I find the exception. Today I jumped. Forgive me. I am a weak man, a man ...more
Steven Godin
Steeped in Japanese tradition Nobel prize winner Yasunari Kawabata has created something almost otherworldly, like it belongs in a completely different time and place. Shimamura travels from the city to a village in the snowy mountains, and while in the company of a young rural geisha called Komako a strange love blossoms, but bound to the rules of the geisha Komako struggles with her emotions towards him and there is always a sense that sadness lingers . The snowy setting really captures the im ...more
Jenn(ifer)
Apr 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: the pure of heart
Recommended to Jenn(ifer) by: vincent van gogh


New love is as delicate as the wings of a moth.

I try to write but the words disintegrate between my fingertips. They melt like snow on my tongue. Maybe a light breeze could carry them across the ocean and drop them at your feet. They will slip through your fingers like sand. They will drift through the air like dandelion wishes.

New love is as fleeting as the blossoms of an almond tree.

The words might cut you like the sharp edge of this paper. The tiny cuts will sting. They buzz around your ear
...more
Magrat Ajostiernos
Muy fan de Kawabata.
Este es uno de esos libros llenos de sutilezas en el que predominan los sentimientos y la atmósfera única de ese País de nieve.
Me he sentido una más en ese lugar perdido entre las montañas, totalmente aislado, gélido y antiguo, con la magia de las tradiciones que se desmoronan por sí solas.
B0nnie
May 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
An image of a young woman reflected in the window of a train. A man watches her. Snow Country opens with a strange, beautiful scene which sets up the story, and leaves hints at what is to follow,
A woman’s eye floated up before him. He almost called out in his astonishment. But he had been dreaming, and when he came to himself he saw that it was only the reflection in the window of the girl opposite. Outside it was growing dark, and the lights had been turned on in the train, transforming the wi
...more
Carol
Snow Country is one exquisite read. It should be on every classics list, and bump a couple of dead Americans or Englishmen to make room near the top of the "top 100 books you must read to be deemed educated".

Two tips. First, I recommend that you not do what I did, and read it over a period of 2 weeks - 20 pages here, 12 pages there. I didn't do service to it. And still. 5 stars.

Second, I recommend that you read these two friends' reviews because they also are exquisite and tell you everything
...more
Cheryl
Gray, the color of loneliness and dissatisfaction, of a heart torn by guilt and shame. Long, gray winters and snow-covered mountains, snow as high as his knees, snow to bury his secret rendezvous. Gray, the color a person sees, when he thinks the grass is greener elsewhere. Black and white forms gray in Kawabata's fictional creation, where the mountains are "black," but "brilliant with the color of the snow." Perhaps gray is the color of unrequited love, or of "wasted effort."
He was conscious o
...more
Algernon
Mar 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, favorites
- The snow is that deep?
- They say that in the next town up the line the schoolchildren jump naked from the second floor of the dormitory. They sink out of sight in the snow, and they move around under it as though they were swimming.


A train rushes into the evening, away from the city, toward a distant country, over the mountains, where winter snows are so high people dig tunnels to move from one side of the street to the other and telegraph poles are buried right up to the wires. Here are hot
...more
Praj
Mar 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: にほん, yk


Butterflies.....
Amusing the lotus pond
A child’s delight.


Butterflies dab my tears and lotuses kiss my heart. As a child, I used to spend hours gazing the dainty beauties as they flirted with the boisterous flowers. Amid my hearty giggles, the soft buttery wings browsed my cheeks for a pink watermark. I sought to embrace these coquettish insects as I sat on the wet grass. As I lifted one from its flowering sojourn and laid it on my palms, my eyes lit like the time my mother cuddled me after a ba
...more
Raeleen Lemay
Not my cup of tea!
Mariel
Mar 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: northern lights
Recommended to Mariel by: sky phenomenon
I read the other reviews of Snow Country before I read the book. I'm nervous to look at any more right now, before I begin writing my own review (erm technically I'm writing it right now). It's like when you mishear lyrics in a song and find out the line that killed you wasn't what they were singing at all. Lights turned on and it's not as beautiful when it's the real world in day time? So the introductions I've read... I didn't read Snow Country as a love triangle. I don't want to.

Yukio Mishim
...more
Tony
Apr 29, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: japanese
I view Asian Art through Western eyes. Not that I have a choice, I guess. That process enhances, even as it limits.

description


I love the beauty, the intricacy of Japanese woodblock prints, but I fear I’m seeing them superficially. Am I missing something, I wonder, if only a nuance? And Murakami. Even though his works owe much to Bulgakov and The Beatles, there is a descent from Japanese forerunners and the history and culture of those islands that probably – okay, certainly - eludes me.

Once an artist hits
...more
Jibran
Dec 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, nobel, japanese
A metaphor of rotting and unappreciated beauty. Deep in the frozen reaches of the Snow Country a Geisha waits out her days for a man who would give her a life of love and dignity that she believes is her right.

Geishas in the Japanese society were connoisseurs of culture and art; they exerted political influence through their patrons; they decided the fates of people who desired their services; they made and broke marriages – they were a soft power centre in the Japanese society.

But in the backwa
...more
Florencia
Apr 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japanese
[ ▷ ◻ ]

description

description

Bashō's evocative haiku is referenced by the end of the book, as one of the characters contemplates small drops of fire that, in contrast to the quiet atmosphere of a country made of snow, were floating in the air, ablaze with fury and disenchantment, sheltered by the absolute splendour of the Milky Way. The sublimeness of a firmament under which existence manifests itself in the shape of beauty and sadness.
As always, Bashō depicted an entire universe in three lines. Trifling matt
...more
Alex
Jul 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: japan, 2018
Why the fuck did no one tell me about kotatsus?



Do you know what this is?! It's got a stove in there! It's a heated tablebed! It's, like, you know how 20-somethings with instagram accounts call clumsy panda memes "everything"? but this is actual everything. I think we can all agree that the word "cozy" has had its day but fuck my puppies if I couldn't curl up and die in one of these things.

Anyway we've been talking about the "thin sheet of paper," as Jun'ichirō Tanizaki calls it, between the word
...more
Eddie Watkins
Mar 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: japanese-fiction
This is the story of three different trips by Shimamura up into the Snow Country of Japan. Each trip occurs in a different season, and each in turn reflects his deepening involvement with a country geisha in a small village. While journeying by train there for his second visit he is struck by the beauty of a fellow passenger who by chance is traveling to the same village. As Shimamura gets more deeply involved, at least physically, with the geisha, he remains deeply intrigued by the other woman. ...more
Paquita Maria Sanchez
In slow motion until the point of contact, this novella quite simply and mercilessly spends its energy reserves back-handing you with the its last few pages. I am getting ahead of myself, but it is important that you know this fact. I hear a lot of trash talked on Japanese novels and films from time to time (excluding those centering on martial arts, of course), of how they are slow, simple, boring, plotless, and where are the explosions, anyway? Well...

First off, I think that's a lot of hooey.
...more
RK-ïsme
Jan 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kawabata, fiction
"In the depths of the mirror the evening landscape moved by, the mirror and the reflected figures like motion pictures superimposed one on the other. The figures and the background were unrelated, and yet the figures, transparent and intangible, and the background, dim in the gathering darkness, melted together into a sort of symbolic world not of this world. Particularly when a light out in the mountains shone in the center of the girl’s face, Shimamura felt his chest rise at the inexpressible ...more
La pecera de Raquel
Valoración 2.5 sobre 5
Reseña completa en mi blog: https://lapeceraderaquel.wordpress.co...

Shimamura es un hombre rico, de mediana edad, casado, que acostumbra a pasar largas temporadas lejos de su familia y la gran de ciudad de Tokio, en un lugar conocido como País de Nieve, llamado así por las constantes nevadas que caen desde diciembre hasta mayo.
El segundo viaje lo hace en tren, es en ese viaje cuando se siente atraído por una joven, después sabrá que se llama Yoko y que realiza el viaje cuid
...more
Jenny
Jun 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ένα βιβλίο που μαγεύει,όχι με την υπόθεση αλλά με τη γραφή!

Υπόθεση:Ο Σιμαμούρα πηγαινοέρχεται από την πόλη(όπου είναι η μόνιμη κατοικία του κι η βαρετή ζωή του) στο βουνό,σ'ένα χωριό στη "χώρα του χιονιού",όπου τον περιμένει υπομονετικά κάθε φορά η Κομάκο.Κάθε φορά που βρίσκουν οένας τον άλλον παρατηρούν τί έχει αλλάξει και τί έχει μείνει ίδιο στη ζωή τους,στο περιβάλλον τους,στα συναισθήματά τους.

Ο τρόπος που γράφει ο Καβαμπάτα είναι υπέροχος.Μου άρεσε ιδιαίτερα η ενσωμάτωση των εποχών,και της
...more
Baran باران
Oct 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: japan, english-titles
Honestly I didn't find it as joyous and ecstatic as I was enchanted by the Beauty and Sadness by the same author! However, I still would readily follow the trace of some core issues of his fiction writing, such as aestheticism, loneliness, country or places in isolation as the central stetting, love triangle, unuttered emotions and the like.

The main plot moves around a married guy from Tokyo, who visits a mountain hotspring in the snowiest place on the Earth to "relax" or "escape" the family bu
...more
João Fernandes
Aug 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nobel
description
(Mt. Fuji, Japan)

"It was a stern night landscape. The sound of the freezing of snow over the land seemed to roar deep into the earth. There was no moon. The stars, almost too many to be true, came forward so brightly that it was as if they were falling with the swiftness of the void."

'Snow Country' has one of the most beautifully descriptive proses I've read. It is a lot like the snow it spends so much time on: an intrinsic feeling of purity and truth runs in Kawabata's words, and the picture
...more
Bên Phía Nhà Z
mười mấy năm đọc lại Kawabata, vẫn thấy hay như ngày nào. như một bài thơ haiku! cái kết thúc thật quá kinh dị. dĩ nhiên không thích bằng cố đô hay tiếng rền của núi, nhưng vẫn là một tuyệt tác
Nelson Zagalo
Apr 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature, nobel
Primeiro fui atraído pela capa, depois pelo autor e o seu nobel. As primeiras páginas não me inspiraram, passei para outros livros, entretanto o local e o ambiente, a terra de neve, não se descolavam da minha ideia, por isso resolvi voltar a ele.
A "Terra de Neve" não é um livro fácil, porque não é muito acessível a ocidentais. O livro relata uma realidade muito própria do Japão e nos anos 1940. De modo que temos de aceitar que a nossa leitura dificilmente poderá assimilar todos, ou uma grande p
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • Some Prefer Nettles
  • And Then
  • The Waiting Years
  • The Decay of the Angel
  • The Wild Geese
  • The Setting Sun
  • Black Rain
  • The Silent Cry
  • Rashomon and Other Stories
1,907 followers
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 today.

Nobel Lecture: 1968
http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prize...
“As he caught his footing, his head fell back, and the Milky Way flowed down inside him with a roar.” 1081 likes
“But even more than her diary, Shimamura was surprised at her statement that she had carefully cataloged every novel and short story she had read since she was fifteen or sixteen. The record already filled ten notebooks.
"You write down your criticisms, do you?"
"I could never do anything like that. I just write down the author and the characters and how they are related to each other. That is about all."
"But what good does it do?"
"None at all."
"A waste of effort."
"A complete waste of effort," she answered brightly, as though the admission meant little to her. She gazed solemnly at Shimamura, however.
A complete waste of effort. For some reason Shimamura wanted to stress the point. But, drawn to her at that moment, he felt a quiet like the voice of the rain flow over him. He knew well enough that for her it was in fact no waste of effort, but somehow the final determination that it had the effect of distilling and purifying the woman's existence.”
46 likes
More quotes…