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Lo bello y lo triste

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Impulsado por la nostalgia, Oki Toshio decide viajar a Kyoto para oír sonar las campanas del templo en el Año Nuevo. Pero, además, quiere ver a Otoko, su antigua amante, ahora pintora. Todavía hermosa, Otoko vive con su protegida Keiko, una joven amoral, sensual y apasionada de apenas veinte años. Keiko desencadenará este cruel drama de amor, venganza y destrucción. Yasunari Kawabata, ganador del Premio Nobel de Literatura en 1968, se ha consagrado como uno de los más distinguidos novelistas japoneses. A los setenta y dos años de edad, se quitó la vida sin dejar ninguna explicación. Lo bello y lo triste es el testimonio póstumo de la maestría de la maestría psicológica, del virtuosismo y de la originalidad de su obra.

209 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1964

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About the author

Yasunari Kawabata

299 books3,151 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

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Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews47 followers
January 20, 2022
Utsukushisa to Kanashimi to = Beauty and Sadness, Yasunari Kawabata

Beauty and Sadness is a 1964 novel by Japanese author Yasunari Kawabata.

Opening on the train to Kyoto, the narrative, in characteristic Kawabata fashion, subtly brings up issues of tradition and modernity as it explores writer Oki Toshio's reunion with a young lover from his past, Otoko Ueno, who is now a famous artist and recluse.

Ueno is now living with her protégée and a jealous lover, Keiko Sakami, and the unfolding relationships between Oki, Otoko, and Keiko form the plot of the novel.

Keiko states several times that she will avenge Otoko for Oki's abandonment, and the story coalesces into a climactic ending.

My own copy of this book: Published January 30th 1996 by Vintage, Paperback, 206 pages.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز بیست و چهارم ماه سپتامبر سال2016میلادی

عنوان: زیبایی و افسردگی؛ نویسنده: یاسوناری کاواباتا؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگلن ژاپن - سده20م

روانشاد «یاسوناری کاواباتا (سال1899میلادی - سال1972میلادی)» نخستین «ژاپنی» برنده ی جایزه ی «نوبل ادبیات» بودند؛ «رقصنده ایزو»، «دهکده برفی»، «هزار درنا»، «آوای کوهستانی»، «خانه خوبرویان خفته» و ...؛ از آثار این نویسنده از «ژاپن» هستند که به فارسی نیز ترجمه و منتشر شده اند

در این داستان با باز شدن در قطار به کیوتو، روایت، به سبک «کاواباتا»، وبه گونه ی ماهرانه به سنت و مدرنیته میپردازد و به بررسی دیدار دوباره نویسنده «اوکی توشیو» با یک معشوقه ی جوان از بگذشته های خود، «اوتوکو اوئنو»، که اکنون یک هنرمند نامدار و گوشه نشین است، میپردازد

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 04/11/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 29/10/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Gaurav.
170 reviews1,216 followers
November 15, 2017

Does a novel have to be pretty? Can’t a novel give account of sadness?

Could a novelist be like a painter or sculptor?

I suppose even a woman's hatred is a kind of love

What does it take to be a great author? Does one have to condense complex ideas to form out prose which is high on acumen and demanding? Could an author write so effortlessly as if he is making no attempt at all, as water falls down a hill; and yet, he could strike you so profoundly that your heart weeps out. You may find it amusing until you come across one of the best manifestations of art in flesh and bone, who we, now, know as Kawabata, for he writes with unaffected simplicity. Human relationships have always been complex, one which are infused with intricate emotions- easy to display but not so to decipher; and there are only a few mortal beings who have been able to express the human emotions with authority which is quintessential to an artist of highest grade; of course, Yasunari Kawabata seemed to possess all the ingredients which makes him the artist of avant grade. Love, is certainly one of those exhibitions of human emotion which has a tinge of pain warped inside comfort of adulation; and love is eccentric, profound but despite that it gives you pleasure of immense scale, however only to reveal the underlying sadness. Through our craving for beauty, we long for love, only to lose it however, through our experience, we come to understand that it is sadness which is permanent. As the time passes, whatever we seem to consider beauty, may become sadness. And, we feel that love is so abstract an emotion that mortal nature of our universe does seem to elude it and yet it needs manifestation of some mortal being, for us to feel it.

Beauty and sadness, two seemingly contradictory abstractions are amalgamated into something which, though seem condense, however may shred into different manifestations- attraction, rage or jealousy- when compressed. Yet, it takes an artist of the stature of Kawabata, who does it with an understated precision of a surgeon, to paint an imagery where both abstractions may rest, simultaneously, but only delicately, as if not to disturb the subtle mélange on the tarpaulin of our consciousness. And those who are strong enough, who can disturb this delicate spiritual balance, who can face the wrath of human sensations, are welcome here to the world of Beauty and sadness.

Unlike the painter or sculptor of a realistic portrait, he was able to enter his model’s thoughts and feelings, to change her appearance as he pleased, to invent and to idealize out of his own imagination

We are thrown into the world of revolving chairs wherein Oki Toshio, a successful author, makes a journey to hear the New Year’s bells in Kyoto. Loneliness encapsulates him even on this ritual journey, as moving chairs reminds him of the emptiness of life. The sojourn brings up the penetrating memories from the dark recess of his past. His former mistress, Otoko Ueno, who was only 15 when Oki seduced her, lives in Kyoto. The beauty of crimson rails reminds him about underlying sadness of life, about the time spent with Otoko. As we say beauty generally brings sadness underlying beneath it. He could not escape the pain of having spoiled her life, possibly of having robbed her of every chance for happiness. The forbidden, passionate affair had resulted in a stillborn child followed by Otoko’s suicide attempt. Otoko still loved Oki, her baby, and her mother, but could these loves have gone unchanged from the time when they were a tangible reality to her ?Could not something of these very loves have been subtly transformed into self- love? Of course she would not be aware of it. A deep remorse struck Oki, for he maintains that Otoko's life has been ruined by him since she did not married. One must die early if one’s youth immortalized. Time has swung its pendulum unaffected of any one’s lives, as it has been doing since eternity (or is it just an illusion? As even philosophers do not have any satisfactory answer for time), and Otoko attained stature of a cursed celebrity, due to the most popular novel by Oki. Beauty of the novel heightened to the point that it lost any sense of moral questioning. On the other hand, Otoko- the cursed celebrity- has turned out to be a successful painter who lives with her pupil and quaint lover, Keiko.

Time passed. But time flows in many streams. Like a river, an inner stream of time will flow rapidly at some places and sluggishly at others, or perhaps even stand hopelessly stagnant. Cosmic time is the same for everyone, but human time differs with each person. Time flows in the same way for all human beings; every human being flows through time in a different way.

The peace in life of Otoko and Keiko is disturbed by advent of Oki, as the deep ridden love of Otoko surges up from the abyss of her consciousness. Her awareness of her body was inseparable from her memory of his embrace. The tragic event sets tone of the book and sadness takes breath from the graveyard of beauty. Several unhealed wounds from the past open up, brazenly and hurt all three of them through emotions underlying beneath the veneer of beauty, love and we see the haunting world of hate, jealously, revenge surges up.

Sometimes it reminded her of that faint murderous impulse that had fitted through her mind. If she had killed Keiko, she herself would not have gone on living. Later that impulse seemed like a vaguely familiar wraith. Was that another time when she missed a chance to die

The prose of novel, as usual, is quite picturesque, one could actually feel the stillness of hills as if you are sitting right across Oki-the narrator, you immerse yourself in the peaceful silence of mountains infused with soothing songs of birds, when sound of wooden logs interrupts your meditation as if the calmness of universe is disturbed by some cosmic event. The characteristic, which makes it unique among novels by the author, is that characters are given ample space here to be developed fully unlike other books which are essentially psychological interior monologues. Kawabata omits details of some of the seemingly important events, it makes the impact all the more powerful, since we can only imagine what went on. It represents a classic example illustrating how great storytelling resides not only in what is shown, but in what a writer chooses to omit, we generally say, beauty lies underneath.

She could not say why these rather inconspicuous green slopes had so touched her heart, when along the railway line there were mountains, lakes, the sea at times even clouds dyed in sentimental colors. But perhaps their melancholy green, and the melancholy evening shadows of the ridges across them, had brought on the pain. Then too, they were small, well-groomed slopes with deeply shaded ridges, not nature in the wild; and the rows of rounded tea bushes looked like flocks of gentle green sheep.

Kawabata painstakingly peels off layers of time to unfurl the spiraling resonations of the past, as the ardent jealously and desire for tragic revenge took over Keiko. The prose of Kawabata shows several moments of artistic grace interspersed with violent human emotions, to their extremes, which may be disturbing at times though. The nature and thrust of own artistic sensibility of the author, in short, is the ultimate subject, and everything argued and judged, confessed and regretted. Perhaps because of Kawabata's lightness of touch, Beauty and Sadness may appear on casual reading to be rather slight. Yet it is perhaps the most elegantly constructed of Kawabata's novels. Like all of his works, it needs to be relished by the reader slowly, more like poetry than prose: associations must be given time to form, small details must be carefully absorbed.

Profile Image for Jim Fonseca.
1,100 reviews7,191 followers
July 15, 2023
There are really three main characters in this book. A married man; a famous female artist, now 39, who had an affair with the married man years ago; and the artist's young female protégée with whom she is having a lesbian relationship. I can see that women may not like the story in this book because of the main character. Do we still use the phrase ‘male chauvinist pig?’

Let’s first examine the male character, an author. When he was 39, he had an affair with a 16-year-old girl (now the artist) while he was married. She had a baby that died at birth and she tried to commit suicide. He later wrote about all this in his (only) best-selling novel. His wife, who types all his manuscripts, knew of the affair. And stoic that she is, insisted on typing the story of the affair for him while pregnant and while tears streamed down her cheeks. She suffered bouts of nausea and ultimately had a miscarriage.


But hey, 15 years later the author reads about the now-famous artist in a magazine and thinks 'I wonder what she’s up to? I’ll take the train over to see her in Kyoto.' (We are told he is now 54 and she is 39.) The artist, who never married, is still attractive, and it’s clear he’s ready for Round 2 if she’s interested. The artist seems stand-offish but guess what? Her young protégée is drop-dead gorgeous and seems ready to hop into bed with him, despite her lesbian relationship with her mentor. (The man is unaware that the two women are lovers.)

And that's not all he doesn't know.

What he doesn’t know becomes the main focus of the story. The young woman protégée who knows all these details about her mentor’s early life is seeking revenge on the author or on his family for how the man treated her lover (the artist) 15 years ago. Will the young woman seduce and abandon the older man? Will she go after his college-aged son? She even said she might try to break up his daughter’s marriage by going after the daughter’s husband. Will she do all three? Will her mentor really abandon her if she seeks revenge the way she talks about?

Now I’ll jump to the ending, which I won’t reveal, but I will say I found it unsatisfactory because it offered no resolution to the issues raised in the story. Kind of like a TV serial that gets you all hepped up for next season and then you read that the show has been canceled. Still a good read, but a '3.5' that I leave as a '3.'

Like Kawabata’s other books I have read, many passages are beautiful descriptions of nature. Here’s an example:

“From the studio veranda one could see only the inner garden - the view was cut off by the temple's main residence. It was a rather artless oblong garden, but about half of it was bathed in moonlight, so that even the stepping stones took on different colors in the light and shadow. A white azalea blooming in the shadows seemed to be floating. The scarlet maple near the veranda still had fresh young leaves, though they were darkened by the night. In spring people often mistook its bright red budding leaves for flowers, and wondered what kind of blossoms they were. The garden also had a rich cover of hair moss.”

There is also enough about art that I added the book to my art shelf. Both of the two main female characters are artists - teacher and mentor - and both paint many pictures of nature. The younger one paints in an abstract style, the older one in a more realistic style. They think about and discuss how their paintings of nature are reflections of their feelings. (I read somewhere that the author considered a career as an artist in his youth, although I cannot find that reference now.)


Kawabata was the first Japanese recipient of the Nobel Prize (1968) and he was mentor to Yukio Mishima. Both men committed suicide.

Top photo of street scene in Japan in the 1950s from alamy.com
The author from myanimelist.net

[Revised 7/15/23]
Profile Image for Ilse (away until November).
475 reviews3,123 followers
October 18, 2021
Time passed. But time flows in many streams. Like a river, an inner stream of time will flow rapidly at some places and sluggishly at others, or perhaps even stand hopelessly stagnant. Cosmic time is the same for everyone, but human time differs with each person. Time flows in the same way for all human beings; every human being flows through time in a different way.

Profile Image for Dolors.
540 reviews2,278 followers
July 23, 2015
“A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us.” Frank Kafka.

Beauty and Sadness is much more than a mere contrivance to attract potential readers, this magic narration, shrouded in magnificent contradiction, has the power to shock right from the beginning with the indwelling lyricism emanating from its title.
Beauty and Sadness. Opposing concepts fused and confused in a blur of balmy ocher and passionate red, in the inevitable passage of time and the timelessness of the frozen moment, in the unconditional love and the implacable revenge, in the required brushstroke of fiction to capture a perpetual reality in a canvas.
This is not a journey for everyone, only for those who willfully choose the forking path of love, for those who struggle against treacherous jealousy with an obstinacy that does not yield to continuum disillusionment, for those who can find in themselves enough insight to bask in that strange scent of mixed roses and cinder, for those daring enough to dance to the rhythm of the beat and the beating heart of the beauty and sadness.

Otoko and Oki’s affair, whose love set fire to their existence and changed not only their lives but also the ones of the yet unborn, becomes the center of the story. Theirs was a brief but intense relationship, Otoko was only fifteen, Oki was a married man in his mid thirties with a newborn son. When Otoko’s illicit baby dies in childbirth and Oki abandons her, she tries to commit suicide but Oki’s brief return brings her back to life.
Twenty years pass and Oki has become a celebrity thanks to his most famous novel based on his affair with Otoko, a book that immortalized their love forever, a moving work of art that made of Otoko an eternal young girl of fifteen.
Otoko has arisen as a battered survivor. She is now a recognized painter in the Japanese tradition who has finally found peace in the company of her female pupil and whimsical lover Keiko. But Otoko’s love for Oki has never run dry.
A fateful encounter between Otoko and Oki reopens unhealed wounds from the past and triggers a chain of events which none of them could have ever predicted, blurring the thin line between love and hate, compassion and revenge.

How do we chop through the frozen sea of others? How can we prevent the past coming forward, how can we avoid the past reviving again and meeting us in its complete strangeness?

A building sense of doom contracts and expands fluidly attuned to the poetic melancholy of the Japanese landscapes, where ancient temples, traditional ceremonies and snow covered and eerie mounts serve as a nest for the development of this classic tragedy of memorable love, loss, madness and revenge wrapped up in the stillness and delicate contemplation that such profound feelings require. Lyric passages about the anthem of human connectedness and their mismatched selves are brought up to life with Kawabata’s careful choice of words.

Beauty and Sadness is one of those rare but not impossible love stories which can’t be erased like one does with discarded tea leaves at the bottom of a cup or like a forgotten picture buried deep at the back of a neglected drawer. This is a hymn to beauty which will remain embedded in the most recondite part of any sensitive, pulsating soul. The essence of existence becomes a feeble and restrained throb accompanying those who allow themselves to be dragged by the flowing stream of this perturbing story.
In an exotic Japan, where tradition and the disturbing presence of unfulfilled desire, meditation and yearning, colorful art and greyish death are inexorably melted, the tearing loss and the stand-still moment will reincarnate into scarred flesh, invoking cold Beauty and piercing Sadness as a chant for passionate love, regardless of the powerful inner currents which presage the insurmountable tragedy.
Someone, somewhere once asked: "Is love worth it"? I would answer that yes, it is.

Profile Image for Glenn Sumi.
404 reviews1,587 followers
January 13, 2016
This quiet, haunting novel puts an intriguing twist on the love triangle narrative.

Oki Toshio is a well-known middle-aged writer. When he was in his early 30s, he had an affair with an innocent teenager, Otoko, got her pregnant (he was married at the time) and essentially ruined her life. He then dealt with the experience in a novel, which remains his most popular work.

Now he’s curious about seeing Otoko again. She’s a famous yet reclusive artist, still beautiful, and living in Kyoto with her young female lover and protégé, Keiko. Keiko, it turns out, wants to avenge Otoko’s humiliation by getting back at Oki.

What’s fascinating isn’t the slightly melodramatic plot – no surprise it was adapted twice for film – but the gentle way Kawabata unfolds the plot and character histories, like petals gradually opening on a flower.

You’re never really sure who’s still in love with whom, and who’s jealous of whom. But that’s okay. The characters seem typically Japanese, polite on the outside and often filled with unspoken yearnings and passions on the inside. (The exception is Oki’s wife, who has put up with a lot and now speaks her mind.)

This is a short novel, but the prose needs to be savoured slowly. It's very sensual, at times erotic without being sexual, if that makes sense. Pay particular attention to the sights and sounds. The book begins with the arrival of a new year and Oki wanting to hear the ringing of the temple bells. There’s a vivid sense of place, particularly in the country sections.

One atmospheric scene is set at a rock garden, and another features the lovely imagining of what life was like in an area centuries earlier. These details all feel authentic in a book that has three artists at its centre.

Needless to say, the book delivers on the promise of that title. There’s lots of beauty, plenty of sadness.

This was the first novel I’ve read by Nobel laureate Kawabata, but it won’t be the last.
Profile Image for Katia N.
585 reviews705 followers
July 28, 2020
Devastating elegance.

After reading this, I found out that it was his last novel. And it was the first by him I’ve read. Now, not sure which way to go. He touches such a deep nerve. And he does it without being pretentious.

I might expend on this later.

Profile Image for B0nnie.
136 reviews49 followers
March 22, 2012
Beauty and Sadness is an understated, delicate story. It begins with the sad memories of Oki Toshio, an eminent writer - and then, gradually but fiercely, reveals how those long ago events have done damage to the lives of many. All is revealed in an uncomplicated style, and without overt judgement from the author. He lets the story speak for itself.

Oki longs for a meeting with Ueno Otoko (now famous too, an artist) the woman whose youth he ruined, and to whom the past echoes with obligations left undone. She has a young acolyte and lover, Sakami Keiko, who devises a devious revenge: the result is biblical.

Otoko is a painter in the classical Japanese tradition, a style that is beautiful, simple and yet sophisticated. Kawabata paints this story with the same sparse brush. There is just enough information to convey exactly what is meant, and yet there is much blank space for the reader to fill in with their own thoughts.


The selfishness of Oki is shocking. He had behaved horribly, and then he writes a book about it,
It was the tragic love story of a very young girl and a man himself still young but with a wife and child: only the beauty of it had been heightened, to the point that it was unmarred by any moral questioning.

And there's Fumiko, Oki's wife, who wanted his love, to be in this book, shares the guilt,
“Because you can’t write about someone you don’t love, someone you don’t even hate? All the time I’m typing I keep wondering why I didn’t let you go.”
“You’re talking nonsense again.”
“I’m serious. Holding on to you was a crime. I’ll probably regret it the rest of my life.”

The book makes him famous, but it seems as though it is a book better left unwritten. Or is it? The book is deeply loved, does makes Oki famous. This implicates his readers in the sin, by enjoying its fruits. And - novels within novels! it turns around and accuses us too.

Keiko, sweet avenging angel. She acts on Otoko's behalf. Everyone in this story seems to want to contain the past, holding it as a perfect item of sorrow, or beauty. Keiko shatters that precious notion and all is completed.

There are many lyrical descriptions in Beauty and Sadness, and if it were a painting, its dominant tone would be green. It is more yamato-e than impressionist, but there's that too. If there is such a thing as the Japanese mind, it is glimpsed at here in Kawabata's words.

Profile Image for FotisK.
367 reviews166 followers
April 10, 2020
Ο Καβαμπάτα είναι ένας κατεξοχήν Ιάπωνας συγγραφέας. Αν και είχε επαφή με τις δυτικές αισθητικές αντιλήψεις, υπήρξε παραδοσιοκράτης, τόσο από θεματικής απόψεως όσο -κυρίως- από αισθητικής.

Το λογοτεχνικό έργο του διαπνέεται εξολοκλήρου από τον χαρακτηριστικό τρόπο γραφής της ασιατικής αυτής χώρας: υπαινιγμός στον μέγιστο βαθμό, "έντονη" εσωτερική δράση και απουσία εξωτερικής (παρά μόνο όταν είναι απολύτως απαραίτητο), αλλά και απουσία επίδειξης, καθώς η ουσία αναδεικνύεται με λιτά αφηγηματικά μέσα. Η αίσθηση του χρόνου (παρόν/ παρελθόν), ομοίως, αποδίδεται διαφορετικά σε σχέση με εκείνη που έχει συνηθίσει ο δυτικής αναγνώστης, καθιστώντας συχνά την ιαπωνική λογοτεχνία δυσπρόσιτη περιοχή για τους αμύητους.

Δεν πρόκειται περί δυσκολίας αντικειμενικής, τέτοια που αντιμετωπίζει κάποιος ερχόμενος σε επαφή με τον Μούζιλ ή τον Τζόυς. Κανείς "κλασικός" Ιάπωνας συγγραφέας δεν γράφει με τον τρόπο αυτόν, δεν πειραματίζεται υφολογικά, δεν καινοτομεί χάριν της καινοτομίας (όχι φυσικά πως δεν υπάρχουν κι αυτού του είδους οι συγγραφείς, αλλά είναι νεότεροι). Η όποια δυσκολία θα αντιμετωπίσει ο σύγχρονος αναγνώστης του Καβαμπάτα έγκειται στο ότι χρειάζεται ένα χρονικό διάστημα εξοικείωσης με τον τρόπο, με το ύφος του.

Για να το θέσω απλά, ο βιαστικός αναγνώστης, ο προκατειλημμένος, θα απογοητευτεί και θα αποχωρήσει. Αναφέρομαι στην τυπική παρατήρηση που συνεχώς διαβάζουμε: "Δεν μου κάνει ο ιαπωνικός τρόπος σκέψης/ γραφής!" Εντούτοις, εφόσον αποφασίσει να αφεθεί στον συγγραφέα να ορίσει την πορεία πλεύσης και, το σημαντικότερο, τη διάρκεια του ταξιδιού, δεν θα απογοητευτεί.

Η "Χώρα του χιονιού" αποτελεί την επιτομή όσων περιέγραψα, όντας ένα αριστουργηματικό κείμενο, θεωρούμενο δικαίως το κορυφαίο του συγγραφέα. Η "Ομορφιά και θλίψη", από την άλλη πλευρά, υπολείπεται. Ο βασικότερος λόγος είναι πως ο ίδιος ο Καβαμπάτα αποτυγχάνει να υπακούσει στον ιαπωνικό τρόπο, όπως το περιέγραψα πιο πριν. Εν προκειμένω, οι διάλογοι περισσεύουν, ο υπαινιγμός δίνει τη θέση του στις εξηγήσεις και στις αναλύσεις, ενώ η αποστασιοποιημένη συναισθηματικά γραφή υποχωρεί μπροστά στον μελοδραματισμού (κατά τόπους) που "μολύνουν" το κείμενο.

Εν ολίγοις, εκείνα τα στοιχεία που με έκαναν να αγαπήσω τη μεγαλειώδη "Χώρα του χιονιού" απουσιάζουν εδώ. Δεν πρόκειται για κακό βιβλίο -πώς θα μπορούσε;- απλά φαντάζει κατώτερο του Καβαμπάτα, τουλάχιστον στα δικά μου μάτια.
Profile Image for Pablo.
409 reviews7 followers
July 20, 2020
Zizek en su introducción del libro Ideología: un mapa de la cuestión. Establece como ciertos autores utilizan la palabra "y" como una categoría. Categoría que sirve para expresar en primer lugar lo más abstracto, y en segundo lugar como eso abstracto se concretiza, sus condiciones de existencia.

En este libro, creo que podría aplicarse la anterior categoría. ¿Qué es lo bello? las pinturas de Otoko, su tragedia de amor con Oki, la belleza de Keiko, los paisajes por donde transitan los personajes. Quizás todo esto, y más. Llegando a lo más cliché, la vida en si misma es la bella. Sin embargo, todo esto se da a través de lo triste. Y lo triste parece en esta novela un gran océano, donde la felicidad son pequeñas islas destinadas a desaparecer. Pero belleza no es felicidad, de hecho, muchas veces el costo de la belleza es precisamente la infelicidad. Entonces la distinción de Zizek cobra sentido; lo bello es, llega a ser, a través de lo triste. Solo así podemos comprender la verdadera belleza, y su costo.
Profile Image for Praj.
314 reviews811 followers
February 14, 2015
The acrylics are laid on a wooden table with monochromatic perfection. A blank canvass waits to be explored. Water droplets glisten as they leave the auburn bristles of the brush. A flurry of horizontal strokes awakens the sordid paleness. A dash of vertical Prussian blue collides with wavy ochre. Vermillion over emerald. Sienna peeping through the cobalt notes. The brushes fall and fingers reign the dyed paper. The fingers run wild, flooding the whiteness like an angry rainbow across the empty sky. The sanctity of the easel lost to the festering colours. The tinted viscosity blurs the didactic depiction normalizing irrationality between the artist and the portrait. Consuming art. Consuming love.

Basho writes :-

The temple bell stops.
But the sound keeps coming
out of the flowers.

Isn't the consciousness of love like these temple bells? Long after its physicality ends, the essence lingers through budding emotions within the delicate sounds of the past. How is it to experience a love so abstract that death seems a friendly stranger? Ueno Otoko, loving a man who stole her childhood, delineates the purity of an overwhelming emotion –love and not clemency. Otoko lost her baby during a painful childbirth; a tearful goodbye with only the memory of her child’s pristine black hair. Otoko was 16, when she overdosed on sleeping pills after her baby’s death; a bid to escape the encumbering deficient love. As a solitary blossom among the sea of stones, Otoko bloomed amid the darkness of a distorted love perplexed at her long survival. The colours in her portraits were tales of Otoko’s poignant heart ; the brush strokes searched her child’s face.

"She had no idea of the face and form of her baby, only a vision in her heart. She knew very well that the child in her. Ascension of an Infant would not look like her dead baby, and she had no wish to paint a realistic portrait. What she wanted was to express her sense of loss, her grief and affection for someone she had never seen. She had cherished that desire so long that the image of the dead infant had become a symbol of yearning to her. She thought of it whenever she felt sad. Also the picture was to symbolize herself surviving all these years, as well as the beauty and sadness of her love for Oki."

In a Girl of Sixteen, Oki immortalized the woman he considered his only passionate love. A woman who at a tender age of 15 lost her virginity to a much married man in his 30s. Kawabata delineates Oki as a man lost in egocentric love; even though ridden by guilt of blemishing Otoko’s youth, Oki pursued the forbidden tenderness as though the inherent madness of it all kept him alive.

"It was the tragic love story of a very young girl and a man himself still young but with a wife and child: only the beauty of it had been heightened, to the point that it was unmarred by any moral questioning."

The stillness of his memories kept Otoko alive through his writings and the ringing of New Year’s bells in Kyoto with each passing year.

"What were memories? What was the past that he remembered so clearly?..............he could not escape the pain of having spoiled her life, possible of having robbed her of every chance for happiness.......the vividness of the memories mean that she was separated separated from him...."

From flaunting his affairs to Fumiko to consciously leaving his wife out of the memoirs for an untainted tale of intricate passionate love and earning his generous royalties from the book; Oki is an outright amoral man. Kawabata gives a picture of a reckless man imparting ugliness through beautiful sentiments. In the autumn of his life how could he hope for forgiveness from a woman who lived his aberrant repercussions?

Keiko on the other hand is a misguided passionate lover. One could say her love for Otoko was mere teenage infatuation, but her determination in seeking revenge from Oki throws a different light on Keiko’s commitment to Otoko. Kawabata underplays homosexuality limiting Keiko’s relationship with her teacher (Otoko) only to the idea of revenge. It may be due to Otoko resisting of letting go her past ghosts spinning a web of jealousy for Keiko. Or Kawabata hesitated in exploring a lesbian love due to cultural restraints.

"Otoko still loved Oki, her baby, and her mother, but could these loves have gone unchanged from the time when they were a tangible reality to her? Could not something of these very loves have been subtly transformed into self-love?Of course she would not be aware of it. She had been parted from her baby and her mother by death, and from Oki by a final separation, and these three still lived within her. Yet Otoko alone gave them this life. Her image of Oki flowed along with her through time, and perhaps her memories of their love affair had been dyed by the color of her love for herself, had even been transformed. It had never occurred to her that bygone memories are merely phantoms and apparitions. Perhaps it was to be expected that a woman who had lived alone for two decades without love or marriage should indulge herself in memories of a sad love, and that her indulgence should take on the color of self-love."

Keiko- Otoko’s protégée and a jealous lover avenged Otoko’s melancholy through the malicious play of her physical splendor consuming Taichiro in her seduction. Fumiko whose love was loyal and simple towards Oki, yet appallingly as she prospered in Otoko’s printed exhibition. Otoko who still loved Oki, her mother and her baby and never let go of her 16 yr old from her soul, the very reason of her being hesitant in sketching Keiko somehow seem to be her teenage apparition. And, Oki who could never distinguish nostalgic remorse from factual remorse. Akin to the moss covered roof at the restaurant that never had the chance to dry out because being weighed down by the huge tree, all of Kawabata’s characters were stuck in time buried under the obscurity of memories and prejudices

"Time passed. But time flows in many streams. Like a river, an inner stream of time will flow rapidly at some place and sluggishly at others or perhaps even strand hopelessly stagnant. Cosmic time is the same for everyone, but human time differs with each person. Time flows in the same was for all human beings, every human being flows through time in a different way."

Issa writes:-

Cherry blossoms in evening.
Ah well, today also
belongs to the past.

Love is narcissistic, deviant, vengeful, powerful and yet somehow beautiful. It breathes life into one’s solitude only to revel in the silence of emptiness,. Happiness is transient and it is in sadness that tranquil loveliness bloom like a white lotus on fire. Beauty encompasses sadness through a spate of sorrows and death; the fleeting exquisiteness of cherry blossom that eventually meets the earthly grave.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Aubrey.
1,359 reviews794 followers
December 17, 2015
If we rid ourselves of every cultural artifact that blended love and hate together in equal measure, we would be be left with very little that is worth remembering. Love without hate is optimistic and hate without love is depressing but to have both! That is an accurate portrayal of ourselves, and after countless millennia we still crave the tales that delve unflinchingly into that bright and terrible line between the two.

But is it really a line? What causes one to cross it, and for how long? And do we really travel from one realm to another, the euphoric uplift and the bitter agony, via clean and complete transitions? Is it all that simple?

By those rules, this book should have never existed, one detailing the relationship between a young girl and a man twice her age. The repercussions stretch on for more than twenty years, as the man and his family live off the fruit of that story of illicit love, and the girl grows into a woman who wins the love of a girl hellbent on revenge for these past wrongs. And through the man's dangerously blind romanticism, and the woman's traumatized solitude, they still believe in their love for each other.

Blindness and trauma. The poison is bubbling to the surface everywhere the characters look, and yet they carry on as if there is nothing to be worried about. The man sees only his reflection in the women around him, and the girl twists this image into a hook to drag him down. The woman unconsciously builds a shrine to the pain and sorrow of the past, and the son ignores the warning signs at every turn.

And for what. Love? The love in this story is a wound, easily made and nigh impossible to heal, and the pleasure of it writhes in bed with the agony. Is it really worth it?

Look around you. I'd say the world thinks so.
Profile Image for Amaranta.
552 reviews211 followers
July 9, 2018
“Sia l’acqua che il tempo non fluiscono mai indietro” .
Un uomo, Toshio Oki, decide di incontrare dopo moltissimi anni Otoko, la donna con cui ebbe una relazione passionale, ardente, difficile e dolorosa tanto da annientarla. L’uomo prova ancora per lei un affetto e il ricordo lo aiuta a mantenere vivo il pensiero di quella fanciulla così bella che gli si concesse senza nessuna remora. E Otoko? Dopo essere passata attraverso tanto dolore che cosa prova? Lo ama ancora, non rinnega nulla di quel rapporto, non potrebbe amare, come non ha fatto, nessun altro uomo e vive in quel ricordo che riempie la sua vita.
Questo libro è una treccia. Tre fili insieme all’inizio, poi il filo di Oki si interseca a quello di Otoko, che scivola su quello Keiko, una giovinetta sua allieva, infida, terribile, perfida. Oki, Otoko, Keiko…Oki, Otoko, Keiko…
Mi stupisce sempre la compostezza giapponese, sia negli ambienti che nei gesti e nelle parole, rituali lenti e misurati che fanno da contrasto a passioni smodate, violente come una macchia di rosso su una tela bianca di Otoko. E’ forse una reazione a tutto quell’ordine?
Kawabata ci lascia volontariamente all’oscuro di cosa abbia provato Otoko dopo l’incontro con Oki, la sensazione di ritrovarsi di fronte l’amore della sua vita, seppure così doloroso per lei. E’ qui che il pensiero trova spazio e che avanza.
Una lettura interessante per un autore da approfondire.
Profile Image for Eliza Rapsodia.
371 reviews853 followers
February 10, 2017
Escribir sobre literatura japonesa siempre me ha parecido un reto. A pesar de que es mi tercer libro del autor, de alguna manera siento que escribir sobre historias japonesas me queda grande, porque nunca podré explicar realmente la experiencia de acercarse a esta maravillosa cultura y menos llegar a comprenderla en su totalidad. Pero bueno, no se debe dejar de intentarlo así que voy de nuevo.

Oki Toshio es un escritor ya entrado en los cincuenta años y un día decide viajar a Kyoto a pasar la velada de Año Nuevo escuchando las campanas que anuncian el nuevo año. Pero además de esto, hay otro motivo. Oki desea reencontrarse con la pintora Otoko Ueno, una mujer con la que tuvo una relación amorosa cuando ella tenía dieciséis años y que no ha vuelto a ver desde entonces. Preso del recuerdo, Oki desea volver a verla, a pesar de que es casado y tiene dos hijos. Pero el reencuentro de Oki y Otoko se ve perturbado por la impulsiva y bella Keiko Sakami, alumna de pintura de Otoko y quien siente por su maestra un afecto que raya con la obsesión.

Reseña completa: http://rapsodia-literaria.blogspot.co...
Profile Image for Cristina.
379 reviews234 followers
February 10, 2017
Definitivamente Kawabata atrapa.

El segundo libro que leo de este autor y me ha gustado más que el primero, País de Nieve. Kawabata es pura prosa poética. Te envuelve y te embriaga de tal forma que no puedes dejarlo hasta que has terminado. Precisión perfecta en el uso del lenguaje y dominio exquisito del ritmo de la narración. Maestro en el arte de sugerir, Kawabata juega con la imaginación del lector para que sea ésta la que complete los vacíos que va dejando.

Lo bello y lo triste es un análisis impecable del lado irracional que habita en cada uno de nosotros. El deseo, los celos y la venganza son algunas de las emociones que aparecen en la novela que sin ningún control conducen a la destrucción.

El argumento es el siguiente: Oki regresa a Kioto para visitar a una antigua amante, Otoko, con la que mantuvo una fugaz pero intensa historia de amor que dejó huella en ambos de tal forma que ella no ha podido volver a mantener ninguna relación con un hombre y él, aunque casado, vuelca toda la historia en una novela para adolescentes que consigue tener éxito. Otoko convive ahora con una joven, discípula suya, que por amor se vengará del daño que en su momento Oki inflingió a Otoko, seduciendo a Oki y a su hijo.

Si se toma la historia literalmente, se concluye que la visión que el autor tiene de las relaciones es enfermiza y destructiva situando el origen de todos los males en la figura de la mujer ante la belleza de la cual el hombre, ser débil, no puede sino caer rendido. Podría calificarse a Kawabata de misógino por el retrato que hace del personaje de Keiko como un ser terriblemente malvado y maquiavélico que seduce por puro placer vengativo, misoginia que incluso se proyecta en la esposa de Oki, que prefiere culpar de su desdicha, no a su marido, como cabría esperar, sino a Otoko y Keiko y lucha por mantener alejado a su hijo de ambas mujeres cuando vuelven a aparecer.

Ahora bien, lo que el autor pretende, si se va más allá, es que la historia en sí funcione como alegoría que le sirva para poner sobre el papel la complejidad y el poder de las emociones humanas, sin descuidarse de reflexionar a la vez sobre ellas, que pueden llegar a conducir al delirio y a la locura.

Algunos fragmentos ilustrativos podrían ser los siguientes:
“En los tiempos en que se reunía con ella en secreto, Otoko la sorprendió una vez al decirle:
- Tú eres de los que se preocupan por el qué dirán, ¿no? Deberías ser más audaz.
- Me parece que soy bastante desvergonzado. ¿Qué me dices de esta situación?
- No. No hablo de nosotros- dijo ella e hizo una pausa-. Me refiero a todo… Deberías ser tú mismo.

Al no encontrar respuesta, Oki había reflexionado sobre sí mismo. Mucho tiempo después, las palabras de Otoko continuaban grabadas en su mente. Sentía que aquella muchacha veía con extrema claridad su carácter y su vida, porque lo amaba. En adelante había seguido su propia voluntad con harta frecuencia, y cada vez que comenzaba a preocuparse por la opinión de los demás recordaba las palabras de Otoko. Recordaba el momento en que las había pronunciado.”

“Mucho tiempo después de separarse de él, le molestó leer en Una chica de dieciséis que cuando Oki iba a encontrarse con ella planificaba cómo le haría el amor en esa oportunidad y generalmente lo conseguía. Le parecía espantoso que el corazón de un hombre “palpitara lleno de gozo mientras caminaba pensando en eso”. Para una joven espontánea como Otoko era inconcebible que un hombre planeara de antemano sus técnicas eróticas, la secuencia de éstas y cosas por el estilo. Ella aceptaba todo lo que él hacía, le brindaba todo lo que él pedía. Oki la había descrito como una criatura extraordinaria, como mujer entre las mujeres. Gracias a ella –así escribía-él había experimentado todas las formas de hacer el amor.”

“Oki comió temprano; alrededor de las cuatro y media. En las cajas encontró una variedad de comidas de Año Nuevo, entre las que figuraban unas bolitas de arroz de forma perfecta. Parecían expresar las emociones de una mujer. Sin duda la propia Otoko las había preparado para el hombre que, mucho tiempo atrás, había destruido su tierna juventud. Al masticar aquellos bocaditos de arroz, sintió el perdón de la mujer en su lengua y sus dientes. No, no era perdón, sino amor. Estaba seguro que era amor, un amor que aún ardía en lo más hondo de su ser. Todo lo que él sabía de la vida de Otoko en Kioto era que ella se había abierto camino como pintora sin ninguna ayuda. Quizá hubo en su vida otros amores, otras historias sentimentales, pero ella aún sentía por él el desesperado amor de la adolescencia. Él, por su parte, había tenido relaciones con otras mujeres, pero nunca había vuelto a amar con la misma intensidad.”

Igual que las bolitas de arroz que aparecen en el fragmento anterior, todo en Kawabata deviene símbolo: el inicio del libro es prácticamente calcado a País de Nieve. El tren que lleva al protagonista de Tokio (ciudad que representaría la realidad y la vida cotidiana) hacia Kioto (como sinónimo de ese lugar idílico de nuestra imaginación, donde no hay límites para la admiración de la belleza y la búsqueda insaciable del placer.) El tren simboliza el escape de la realidad, el viaje que se emprende hacia lo irracional. También las bellísimas descripciones, delicadas y exquisitas de los paisajes que funcionan como vivo reflejo de las emociones de los personajes a la vez que nos sumergen en el mundo japonés, como si el lector se encontrara en medio del cuadro que el autor dibuja. Destacable también es el uso de la evocación del recuerdo como una constante en Kawabata siempre teñido de un tono melancólico que empapa todo el relato y que llega ser doliente. Particularmente bellos son Campanas del templo y El lago (capítulos que inician y cierran la novela, respectivamente.)

Y el simbolismo adquiere su máxima manifestación en el personaje de Keiko mismo, personificación, a mi parecer, del amor adolescente, apasionado y loco, encarnado en una joven de veinte años, turbadoramente bella, que no dudará en seducir a los dos personajes masculinos que caerán rendidos a sus pies, sólo por amor a Otoko.

Parece que al autor entiende que el amor desenfrenado sólo pueda darse en la juventud: “Otoko recordó ahora las palabras de su madre. Se preguntó si era su juventud e inocencia lo que había dado tanta intensidad a ese amor. Quizá eso explicara su pasión ciega e insaciable.”
“En una palabra, había volcado todo su amor fresco y juvenil en aquel libro. Probablemente ésa fuera la razón de su éxito. Era la trágica historia de amor de una muchacha joven y de un joven aún, pero casado y con un hijo. La belleza de aquella historia había sido acentuada hasta el punto de escapar cualquier cuestionamiento moral.”

Efectivamente la joven Keiko está perdidamente enamorada de Otoko; Otoko y Oki, por su parte, estuvieron ciegamente enamorados en su juventud y Taichiro, el hijo de Oki, es seducido por Keiko enamorándose locamente de ella, a diferencia de su padre, quien, si bien también acaba cediendo a sus encantos, mantiene con Keiko un encuentro puramente sexual “una vez más la besó largamente. Cuando quedó sin aliento la levantó en vilo y la depositó sobre la cama. Ella se ovilló. No ofreció resistencia, pero a Oki le resultó difícil que distendiera las piernas. No tardó en comprobar que no era virgen. Comenzó a embestirla con más dureza.” Y tanta pasión ¿hacia dónde lleva? A la destrucción. Entonces podemos preguntarnos, ¿por qué el ser humano ansía vivir un amor así si sólo acaba saliendo dañado? ¿Es que la naturaleza humana es, de algún modo, masoquista? En definitiva, ¿es el Amor malvado?

Parece que Kawabata nos advierta de que el final feliz no es posible sintetizando magníficamente la esencia de lo que resultan ser, no sólo las emociones humanas llevadas al extremo, sino la vida misma, en el título del libro: lo bello y lo triste.

Simplemente genial.
Profile Image for Tessa Nadir.
Author 3 books273 followers
October 19, 2022
"Ma-ntreb daca, in ura pe care o simte o femeie, nu intra si un pic de dragoste?"
O carte cruda si foarte vie a lui Kawabata, iar titlul atat de bine ales ne face sa meditam asupra acestor doua concepte si sa ne intrebam daca sunt compatibile. Consider ca exista frumusete in intristare, acel soi de frumusete eleganta, distinsa, usor retinuta, oarecum atemporala si masochista, mai ales daca intristatrea provine din dragoste. O femeie ce sufera din dragoste are un soi de distinctie aparte care o face speciala intre celelalte femei si care te face sa vrei sa-i alini tristetea sau poate s-o aprinzi, s-o readuci la viata. Iar daca exista tristete in frumusete si aici raspunsul este da, adesea, intr-o frumusete de orice natura putem gasi ceva trist.
Daca ar fi sa compar stilul si abordarea subiectului cu cel al lui Yukio Mishima as zice ca autorul nu are un nivel atat de ridicat de cruzime si nici raceala precum o katana a lui Mishima, care mie imi place mai mult. Stilul insa este rafinat, elegant, usor ambiguu, cu substraturi, iar descrierile superbe ale naturii ne duc cu gandul la o pictura murala foarte bogata in detalii.
"Utsukushisa to kanashimi to" este povestea de iubire a lui Otoko, o pictorita si Oki, un scriitor, ce s-a terminat tragic cand fata avea 16 ani si el 31. Fiind casatorit, Oki o seduce pe adolescenta de 16 ani, pe care o si iubeste si pe care o lasa insarcinata. Copilul, din pacate, nu supravietuieste si mama fetei reuseste sa o mute din Tokyo la Kyoto, legatura lor intrerupandu-se astfel.
Oki se intoarce la sotia nebuna de gelozie, ii mai face un copil si acesteia si scrie o carte controversata despre dragostea cu adolescenta. Aceasta ajunge bestseller si toata lumea o recunoaste pe Otoko in poveste.
Romanul incepe peste 20 de ani cu Oki cautand-o pe Otoko si dorind sa reia legatura cu ea. Aceasta insa este intr-o relatie cu o alta fata, Keiko, care isi pune in minte sa-si razbune iubita seducandu-l pe fiul lui Oki.
Finalul este unul moralist si tragic, plin de o satisfactie cruda, masochista, specifica autorilor japonezi.
Mi-a placut foarte mult ca autorul aminteste si aici de clopot si de papadii, ducandu-ne cu gandul la romanul sau "Papadiile":
"Marcand lungi intervale de tacere, batea vechiul clopot al unei manastiri buddhiste, si ecoul lasat de el in urma te ducea cu gandul la timpul ce se scurge si intrupeaza sufletul batranei Japonii."
De asemenea, la fel ca Mishima in "Templul de aur" si Kawabata doreste sa evidentieze frumusetea osemintelor umane (estetica uratului). Asa cum Mishima vorbea despre frumusetea maruntaielor umane si fiul lui Oki este de parere ca oasele au in ele "ceva frumos, misterios, fragil".
In ceea ce priveste subiectul romanului am fost nevoita sa tai o stea deoarece nu pot sa fiu de acord cu seducerea unei adolescente de 16 ani si cu tragedia pe care a suferit-o pierzand copilul si cu comportamentul iresponsabil al lui Oki care continua sa lase insarcinate femei in stanga si in dreapta fara nicio noima. Mama fetei este de asemenea de condamnat, ea acceptand situatia si implorandu-l pe Oki sa divorteze, desi stie ca nu e posibil. E greu de digerat si faptul ca toata aceasta supraincarcata nota de plata morala o "achita" fiul lui Oki care este nevinovat, conform vechii zicale "copiii platesc pentru pacatele parintilor."
Romanul are imagini senzuale subtile intre cele doua femei sau intre Keiko si barbati, desi acesteia nu-i plac, facand-o numai din razbunare. Keiko este un personaj destul de greu de inteles, aflandu-se la limita dintre isterie si nebunie.
Am apreciat nota de la inceput a traducatorului Sorin Marculescu, ce ne ofera si o mica lectie de japoneza, insa nu mi-a placut ca notele de subsol sunt situate la finalul cartii, fiind astfel nevoita sa-ti tot intrerupi lectura si sa rasfoiesti intreaga carte. Evident ca eu am profitat de acest impediment pentru a citi si finalul cartii :)
Alt lucru care m-a deranjat a fost dimensiunea literelor, cea mai mica de pana acum. Este nevoie de ochi de vultur sau eventual de vulpita atunci cand citesti seara. Iar descrierea de la inceput pe care o face editura cartii este cel putin hilara si de neinteles, nicio propozitie neavand legatura cu precedenta, parand ca este facuta cu google translate din japoneza.
In incheiere va recomand romanul, mai ales pentru descrierile gingase si absolut superbe ale naturii, Kawabata fiind un mare maestru al acestora. Iar daca suportati bine tragedia, morala, cruzimea atunci cu siguranta romanul va fi pe placul vostru.
Profile Image for Nour Allam.
456 reviews199 followers
May 10, 2019

تثبت الرواية أن الحب الأول لا يُنسى حتى بعد عشرات السنين، فمن أحبّ بعمق ذات مرّة وكُسر قلبه لن يستطيع تخطي هذا العشق أبداً... الرواية لطيفة لكنها مليئة بالإباحية المفرطة غير المبررة والتي قطعاً لا تخدم النص بل هي مجرد حشو...
*تمّت* 13/3/2019
Profile Image for Estefanía.
149 reviews9 followers
September 3, 2023
Sutil y evocadora, así es esta novela de Yasunari Kawabata, en donde nos relatará a manera de vaivén temporal el amorío pasado de Oki y Otoko y sus consecuencias.

Tenemos como centro a la relación extramatrimonial de Oki, escritor, con Otoko, de apenas 15 años, que no solo es alarmante por la diferencia de edades sino por las consecuencias que acarrea en la vida ambos, que los marcan para siempre y que incluso él deja inmortalizado en una novela.

Años después, siendo Otoko una pintora reconocida y Oki un escritor cimentado, la añoranza hace que él la busque y raíz de eso se remueven los escombros que quedaron y se crean nuevos movimientos telúricos en ellos y en las personas que están a su alrededor, que son, Keiko, una suerte de alumna/amiga/amante para Otoko, y la esposa de Oki y Taishiro, su hijo. Es aquí en donde descubrimos las sombras de estos personajes secundarios y de lo que son capaces de hacer para proteger, en nombre del amor, tanto a Oki como a Otoko.

Me gusta la literatura japonesa por su cadencia, su delicadeza y su simpleza aparente. Esta novela empezó lento y fue ascendiendo pero en algún momento se estancó y aunque no me generó malas sensaciones, como estaba deseando algo más, sentí que me faltó.
Profile Image for سلطان.
Author 13 books812 followers
May 13, 2014
كاواباتا كاتب من طراز مختلف، هذه الرواية تغوص في عمق النفس البشرية بشكل عجيب، وتحديداً في شخصية الكاتب "أوكي"، اهتمام كاواباتا بشكل خاص، والأدب الياباني بشكل عام بأدق تفاصيل المشاعر البشرية، وكذلك أدق تفاصيل الطبيعة، يجعل من أعمالهم حالة خاصة في عالم الكتابة.
بداية تعاطفت مع بطلة الرواية، ثم تعاطفت مع بطلها أوكي، وتوقفت كثيراً وأنا أقرأ هذا العمل، للتفكير في مدى حكمنا على الأشخاص بالخير أو الشر من خلال القرارات التي يتخذونها في حياتهم تجاه غيرهم.

أنصح بقراءة هذه الرواية، وقد يكون لهذا النصح ظلال عاطفية، ألقى بها حبي الأدب الياباني بشكل عام، وما كتبه كاواباتا بشكل خاص.
Profile Image for Ha Nguyet Linh.
96 reviews156 followers
May 2, 2021
Mình sẽ cho 4* nếu mình dừng đọc ở khoảng gần giữa truyện, nghĩa là khi mạch truyện còn tiềm năng "đẹp và buồn". Chứ đến đoạn sau thì rụng rời cả, đến đoạn kết thúc thì fail luôn. Vậy mà tưởng đã có một cuốn mở hàng đầu năm suôn sẻ cơ đấy -_-

Nếu bạn đọc lời giới thiệu thì cũng đã mường tượng được cốt truyện như nào rồi, cũng không mới lạ gì. Dựa vào mô típ tình tay ba mấy đời, tác giả cố gắng khai thác cái "đẹp" ở tình yêu, lòng chung thuỷ, ở thân thể phụ nữ và phong cảnh nước Nhật; cái "buồn" cũng ở tình yêu, lòng sầu hận.

Nhưng mình phải nói điều này, cái lòng "sầu hận" mà tác giả muốn n��i đến đặt vào truyện rất...vô duyên. Nhân vật đáng ra phải sầu hận (cô người tình) thì chỉ như làm nền, nhân vật đáng ra phải cực kì thù hận và đau khổ (bà vợ) thì được miêu tả như kiểu người "khó thương, quá quắt", còn người tự dưng nổi cơn thù oán ở đây là cô-nhân-tình-của-cô-người-tình, kiểu...hận giùm cho cô người tình ngày xưa bị đau khổ -_- Hay tại mình không điên được như người Nhật nên mình không thông cảm được nhỉ.

Cái kết là một cú nhảy vực của cốt truyện, nghĩa là chưa được đẩy đến nút thắt đỉnh điểm, thì đã cho nhân vật chết và chuyện khép lại một cách có-vẻ-bí-ẩn.

Có thể nói, truyện này nên đổi tên thành "Tạm đẹp và hụt hẫng". Haizz
Profile Image for Mariel.
667 reviews1,070 followers
April 7, 2011
This is gonna get hypothetical because there are film versions of Beauty and Sadness: Tristesse et beauté and Utsukushisa to kanashimi. Somehow I haven't seen either one of these, not even when mass viewing Charlotte Rampling films in the early '00s; nor when bingeing on Japanese cinema, also in the early '00s. I'll rectify this in the future! My movie watching has dropped off significantly in the last three years. Maybe it's how I take on foriegn feelings as if they could be related to me. I've been leaning towards (photosenthesis style! I'm a vegetable and in my coma I'm living all these other lives!) less repeating back how people (well, actors) say things to get what they mean (in case of missed subtexts) and more I'M the actor and it (the books) are all big movies in my head.

So I think (despite that there are films of this! Hypothetical 'cause these movies may not do any of the things I'm about to suggest) that maybe I would have felt less studio egos pushing in how they say it went down and more home movie if this had been a movie with actors for me to attach myself to emotionally. I know, I'm contradicting what I said about why I might've turned more to books these days. But damn, some of the major players in Beauty and Sadness were TOO idealized and I got impatient and wish they'd stop insisting it was all so fucking pure. If it were a movie I could have watched someone and thought, "Wow, she looks really sad. I feel really bad for her."

I couldn't put on a pedestal the long ago love affair between middle aged Oki (married with a baby) and fifteen year old (at the start. sixteen at its end in the physical world) Okoto. Oki immortalizes their young love (they love as teenagers do. As only teenagers do? I don't know if I believe that. More on that later!) in a popular novel. Both feel forever young by its everlasting (at least in the twenty years they've been apart) popularity. I didn't see what the big deal was about Oki. He's just a middle aged guy who feels he lost something that had ended. Where was the backbone? The weakened knees and hearts of fire (weakened hearts of fire. Dying lights...)? Oki was really just the bland old man. He wouldn't catch my eye, I'm pretty certain. I don't know if I believed it was ever as great as either one of them imagines it to be. Okoto is a painter. Yeah, self obsessed artist types. It must've been great to see each other reflected back in each other's eyes?

So the teenager thing I said I would get to later. If it's the first time it can't feel comparable to other things, sure. Oki maybe wanted to feel young by being with the teenaged girl. I didn't get the sense that either one of them wanted to still be together, as older people. Okoto was not tied to any one else (her mother is totally different thing altogether), free to force herself, not carefree but destructively free, into these highly romanticized interludes. Oki would love having a new life than his old one. What else did he have to lose? Teenagers do seem to have that free of the future airs. I'm not arguing my case at all, am I? Oki wasn't a teenager. So there!

Okoto loses their baby when she is sixteen. She tries to kill herself. Her mother puts her in an institution for a while (the right thing to do) and then they move to Kyoto to get away from Oki's memory. Oki never comes for her. He writes a novel about it. Okoto paints pictures of the unborn baby. She's a lot of whatifs and idealizations that I couldn't see in my mind... Where are the eyes for ME to see reflections in? Descriptions of paintings and novels were not doing it for me.

After years of being all alone, Okoto makes a name for herself as an artist (I tried to find online the trick photograph of the geisha that may or may not be two geisha that inspires her painting. No luck). Troubled (namelessly so) Keiko is her student and lover. Keiko is Kawabata's loved extraordinarily beautiful young woman. An actress portraying her in a movie would have much to work with as far as changeability goes (but towards what?Teenaged love? I don't know if I believe in it). However, too much wouldn't be a good thing. I wish so much that Keiko had taken shape more apart from the memories of the adults. She claims to want revenge, she says she's jealous a whole lot. If I could have seen it instead of having it described to me. I'm not some blind dude on a date with a woman describing sunsets to him. I can see! I know I can.

It was kinda interesting how Fumiko, Oki's jealous wife, receded into the background of her own life after the novel was published. Oki is such a cold bastard he has her type his manuscript of his affair with the teenager for him! She miscarries, apparently because of this trauma. After the public receives the novel with love and affection (she herself is hardly a spot in the corner of its eye), she sort of accepts what happened because it was written about. What the fuck is with these people going over what happened until it becomes some unshakeable myth? Couldn't someone have done something? Fumiko could have left her husband. Oki could have left his wife. Okoto could have gone to a real hospital in the first place so she wouldn't lose her baby just because her married lover was ashamed of her. Mom could've left her crazy daughter in the hospital. They do all this shit because they believed too much in that damned teenaged feeling. Oh yeah, I was saying that I liked how the wife playing into that flicked the switch more on what they were doing than any of that navel gazing or nutty revenge schemes ever did.

Oh yeah, I wanted to say that it wasn't pure because it was first and stopped all else in its tracks. That pretty much makes it impure. What good is it then? It's blockage like a hard to pass turd.

I guess total immersion in books isn't good when there are wrong things like teenagers I want to ignore. Let's go to the movies.
Profile Image for Smiley .
774 reviews18 followers
December 22, 2017
Second Review: 3.75 stars

Some weeks ago I came across a review mentioning this novel by Kawabata so I decided to read it to recapture what, I think, I had missed from the first reading. While reading the following nine chapters: Temple Bells, Early Spring, The Festival of the Full Moon, A Rainy Sky, A Stone Garden, The Lotus in the Flames, Strands of Black Hair, Summer Losses, and The Lake, I thought it would deserve a 4-star rating but I changed my mind at the last chapter so the rating minus .25 due to Keiko's revenge as a protegee for her mentor Otoko (who had an affair with an unmarried 30-year-old Oki when she was 15), which has gone too far when Taichiro, Oki's son, is fatefully killed in a boat accident. Noted as a young sorceress (p. 108), she complacently ensnares by means of her charm and beauty first old Oki, then young Taichiro and manipulate them as cunningly planned. My point is that her revenge should include only Oki himself. Interestingly, Kawabata's style and plot are something so wonderful, unique and superb that, I think, few other Japanese authors can surpass him. It is truly a marvel to read.

Compared to his other novels, "Beauty and Sadness" has obviously and bravely been written to reveal his in-depth literary stature as one of the great novelists since he was awarded the prestigious Nobel Prize in literature in 1968. I also wondered what the title meant and how 'Beauty' and 'Sadness' related; indeed, I by chance found them mentioned in a line as part of Keiko and Oki's following dialogs:
"Your ears are lovely," he said, "but there's a kind of eerie beauty to your profile."
"I'm glad you think so!" Her slender neck flushed slightly. "I'll never forgot that, as long as I live. But how long will beauty last? A woman feels sad to think of that."
He had no reply. (p. 77)

So that is the inception of the whole story. Consequently, all things experienced and done by means of nostalgic and sentimental love of all key characters involved as if dictated by fate and karma; therefore, such beauty does not necessarily imply bliss, happiness or success, rather it definitely could end up with sadness as we can read from this novel and see in the daily life.

One of Kawabata's styles, I noticed, is that he sometimes employs quietude amid ensuing dialogs as if to subdue such ongoing movement as we can see and sense from these excerpts:
"Is that what's on your mind?" Keiko nodded. "Why must you worry about that, at your age?"
"Because I'm not a fool like you, for twenty years loving someone who spoiled your life!"
Otogo was silent. (p. 113)

"Wouldn't it make you flesh crawl to touch a hairy skin?"
Still Otoko did not answer. (p. 123)

"Indeed you did!" Otoko was suspicious of her vacant air. "Keiko, where were you last night?"
There was no reply. (p. 170)

To continue . . .

First Review:

I enjoyed reading this novel by Kawabata due to, I think, my familiarity with his writing style especially his brief descriptions and lively dialogs as communicated by key characters. Indeed, this fantastic novel should deserve a little more in its five-star scale, that is, 3.5 (but I can rate it as a 3-star there in the meantime) because it's more enjoyable than "Snow Country" or "Thousand Cranes" which are seemingly a bit philosophical. I mean they're all right if you need something to read, reflect and apply.

I admired his realistic narrations concerning the romantic relationships between Oki and Otoko, Oki and Keiko, and Taichiro and Keiko. He has his subtle ways in writing them for his readers to appreciate and we can't help wondering how he can do it brilliantly. It's his genius and I'm sure I should enjoy reading it more if I knew Japanese.

Everyone's busy working and has no time to read its review from such an unknown amateur GR critic like me, therefore, I'd say something briefly about Keiko, as a protegee having stayed with Otoko till, according to Oki's wife, Fumiko "She was almost frighteningly pretty" (p. 44), who has mischievously decided to take unthinkable revenge in cold blood on Oki, then his son, Taichiro for her mentor Otago as a young sorceress successfully.

Interestingly, the name of Oki's lover is Miss Otoko Ueno; her surname reminds me of a place named 'Ueno' during our going sightseeing (to see Mt. Fuji?) one day as part of our one-week trip in Japan in April 2015. Does this name 'Ueno' have its special meaning? I wonder if this 'Ueno' has something special till Kawabata's adopted it as his key female character.

Find a copy and enjoy!
Profile Image for Pedro.
501 reviews149 followers
October 18, 2020
En esta novela Oki Toshio, escritor maduro, quiere encontrar a Otoko, a quien sedujo de adolescente. Los personajes laterales actúan influidos por los protagonistas, aunque sorprenden con autonomía. Como en una obra de teatro, lucen los protagonistas, con los personajes secundarios en las sombras; pero la luz es caprichosa, y el protagonismo cambia entre los actores, mientras bajo las calmas aguas de una acuarela japonesa, se esconde amenazante la tragedia.
Profile Image for Revel Atkinson.
1 review5 followers
October 14, 2008
I sometimes wonder how I manage to avoid living under a blanket of sadness myself. Is the past not fuller than the future? Does it pose more of a threat to loneliness or is it the cause? It’s not permanent—I’m not willing to subject myself to that quite yet—but I live mostly alone in the desert, a temporary hermit at twenty-three. I read Beauty and Sadness recently, and found myself constantly jumping between Kawabata’s story and my own. Oki, who is roughly thirty years older than I, and Otoko, who is thirty-six, appear to understand love from a brief episode in their pasts, when he was thirty and she was only sixteen, and they both were in love with each other; this moment cannot be replicated and proves irreplaceable in the course of the novel. A truth that Oki’s wife and Otoko’s lover simply have to accept. It was the time when Oki and Otoko were together, young and perhaps innocent in their way that the sensation of love was most brilliant. It is from this relatively short time together—when they experienced their purest sense of passion—that all other love is measured, that love is even understood. Keiko, the young, beautiful protégé and lover of Otoko, is frustrated because she can be nothing more than a reminder for Otoko of the love she shared with Oki. She wants to be more… Even Otoko and Keiko’s physical relationship, though both are female, seems to mimic or echo this past affair. While Oki and Otoko went their separate ways, their sense of love is perfectly preserved in the past. In time is has neither faltered nor faded, and Oki’s novel, A Girl of Sixteen, has even worked to idealize their time together. Keiko makes an effort to “take revenge” on Oki for Otoko, who claims not to be resentful and regrets nothing that happened. Regardless, Otoko’s love for Oki has certainly rearranged her live, disappointed her mother and holds her in a state of longing for the past. The same can be said of Oki, who has become a famous writer from Otoko’s story, has a difficult home life with his jealous wife and is also incapable of moving on, seemingly because there is nothing to move on to: nothing better, nothing worse. There is no choice at all, no choosing to be done.
Profile Image for Oziel Bispo.
523 reviews72 followers
April 9, 2019
Leitura finalizada do livro " Beleza e tristeza" do Japonês Yasunari Kawabata primeiro ganhador do seu país do prêmio nobel de literatura em 1968. Em seu discurso para receber o prêmio, condenou o suicídio, lembrando vários amigos escritores que haviam morrido dessa forma. Em 1972, no entanto, após longo sofrimento devido à saúde precária, Kawabata suicidou-se. O escritor foi encontrado em um edificio de apartamentos, com uma mangueira de gás na boca. Kawabata não deixou nenhuma nota escrita explicando seu gesto.
"Beleza e Tristeza", narra a viagem de um velho escritor 54, Oki Toshio, até a cidade de Kyoto, para ouvir os sinos que tradicionalmente celebram o final do ano. Lá ele irá encontrar a ex-amante ,Otoko , a quem havia engravidado com apenas 16 anos e abandonado décadas antes.Mas o enredo não é tão simples. .Tem Keiko a aluna de Otoko que usará sua beleza pra seduzir e vingar o que oki fez com otoko no passado.Um polígono amoroso do qual participam Oki , sua mulher, seu filho, sua ex-amante e a companheira desta última. A narrativa é sutil e brilhante onde o não dito é o que importa. ..onde olhares duram minutos e amores apesar do sofrimento causado,duram a vida inteira.
Profile Image for Gorkem.
144 reviews97 followers
February 24, 2018
A Classical Kawabata's Tale
Writing a comment for such a masterpiece is one of the hardest moments that I've ever had. From beginning to the end, Mr. Kawabata reveals an incredible environment among individuals and pushes reader to contemplate to what extend obscurity and complexity can endure among people.

The layers of novel psychologically sets very intense themes such as love, revenge, acceptance by society and manipulation with Mr.Kawabata's artistic intelligence.

I really feel that before writing a detailed comment, this book needs to rest in my thoughts.

All in all, this is a great book which compares cultural issues and puts very uncomfortable reflection and reading experience for western reader.

Profile Image for emma.
198 reviews148 followers
November 12, 2022
a beautifully crafted portrait of japanese culture entwined with a rather disturbing tale of the defining relationships the characters that inhabit this experience that haunt them. in this haunting, there is beauty, and there is sadness.
Profile Image for Irene Thalassinou.
121 reviews13 followers
September 13, 2020
Οι σταγόνες της βροχής μοιάζουν στο σχήμα με δάκρυα, κι αν υποθέσουμε για μια στιγμή πως έτσι είναι πράγματι, τότε δεν είναι σαν να κλαίει πάνω μας ο ουρανός;

Αυτή η πρόταση περιγράφει για μένα την ομορφιά της θλίψης. Ίσως για αυτό ο αγαπημένος μου καιρός να είναι όταν ο ουρανός είναι συννεφιασμένος.

Με τις βαθμολογίες δεν τα πάω καλά. Είμαι ανάμεσα στο 4 και στο 5. Με την πάροδο του χρόνου, θα φανεί μέσα μου τι μου έμεινε. Σίγουρα μου άρεσε περισσότερο από τη "λίμνη" του ίδιου. Όμως, αυτό που με εξέπληξε περισσότερο σε αυτό το βιβλίο είναι ο συνδυασμός του θέματος με το γεγονός ότι μιλάμε για ένα βιβλίο που γράφτηκε το 1964 και μάλιστα στην Ιαπωνία. Πόσο εύκολο θα ήταν στην Ιαπωνία του 1964 να γραφτεί ένα βιβλίο που να περιγράφει ερωτική σχέση ανάμεσα σε δύο γυναίκες, παράλληλη σχέση ενός παντρεμένου με ανήλικη κοπέλα και να περιγράφει τις γυναικείες ρώγες για 3 σελίδες;

Πώς τελικά μία απιστία επηρεάζει έναν γάμο; Πώς ένας χωρισμός σε τρυφερή ηλικία μπορεί να σε στιγματίσει για το υπόλοιπο της ζωής σου;

Στο βιβλίο κυριαρχεί η τέχνη της ζωγραφικής, ενώ παράλληλα παρουσιάζονται ιστορικά στοιχεία. Το ύφος είναι το γνωστό ιαπωνικό στυλ με τα παραδοσιακά έθιμα να κάνουν αισθητή την εμφάνισή τους.

Εντυπωσιακή είναι η ακόλουθη συνομιλία της μάνας με την κόρη:
- Σε τούτο τον κόσμο ο άντρας είναι το ευλογημένο φάρμακο που δίνει ζωή σε μια γυναίκα. Ένα φάρμακο που όλες οι γυναίκες πρέπει να παίρνουν.
- Ακόμα κι αν είναι δηλητήριο;
- Ακόμα και τότε. Πήρες κι εσύ η ίδια δηλητήριο χωρίς να το ξέρεις κάποτε, κι ακόμα και σήμερα, εδώ που μιλάμε, δεν έχεις καταλάβει ότι ήταν δηλητήριο, έτσι δεν είναι; Όμως σίγουρα υπάρχει αντίδοτο. Καμιά φορά ένα άλλο δηλητήριο διαλύει το πρώτο, τέτοια φάρμακα υπάρχουν. Ακόμα κι αν το φάρμακο είναι πικρό, κλείσε τα μάτια και κατάπιε τον άντρα χωρίς να το σκεφτείς στιγμή. Μπορεί και να μην κατεβαίνει και να σου έρθει ναυτία, αλλά...

Θα ήθελα πολύ να ήξερα τη συνέχεια αυτ��ύ του "αλλά".

Είσαι τόσο όμορφη, δεν σου αξίζω. Ο έρωτάς μας έχει κάτι από θαύμα. Ποτέ δεν πίστευα πως ένας άνθρωπος μπορεί να ζήσει κάτι τέτοιο. Για μια τέτοια ευτυχία αξίζει να πεθάνει κανείς.

Για κάθε ανθρώπινο ον αυτό που ονομάζουμε ροή του χρόνου ακολουθεί διαφορετικές πορείες. Μέσα στον καθένα μας ο χρόνος κυλάει σε αμέτρητες φλέβες. Όπως ένα ποτάμι, ρέει αλλού γρήγορα, αλλού με πιο νωχελικούς ρυθμούς, κι αλλού το ρεύμα του σταματάει ολωσδιόλου και λιμνάζει. Ο ωρολογιακός χρόνος περνάει για όλους με την ίδια ταχύτητα, οι ρυθμοί του ανθρώπινου χρόνου όμως ποικίλλουν για τον καθένα. Ο χρόνος κυλάει το ίδιο για όλους μας, ο καθένας όμως από εμάς κυλάει διαφορετικά μέσα στο χρόνο.
Ακόμα και για δύο εραστές που είναι μαζί στο παρόν η ροή του χρόνου δεν μπορεί να είναι η ίδια, κι αυτή είναι μια αναπόδραστη μοίρα για όλους.
Profile Image for Toby.
836 reviews330 followers
August 27, 2014
Kawabata's Nobel Prize winning novel of love, sex, and revenge, memory, growing old, and obsession.

"Her awareness of her body was inseparable from her memory of his embrace."

His work is deceptively simple, seemingly all touching on similar subject matter with a similar clean and clear, straight forward style that manage to capture a certain mood of longing in his protagonists and dislocation from their lives yet evocative of time and place and providing deep insight in to their souls.

This one wavers between that typical Kawabata style and something of a Hitchcockian drama, drifting from the aching longing of one character to the almost schizophrenic mood swings of another via the damaged memories of a third and it is this conflict of styles and tone and character that disappointed me the most. Kawabata shows his hand too early and too easily making the journey to the inevitable just a little too perfunctory. There's still a lot to enjoy, a lot of wonderfully evocative passages but the inevitable nature of things actually seemed to hide from the reader of some of the beauty and sadness you might otherwise have felt.
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