The Old Capital: Yasunari Kawabata

Yasunari Kawabata, Author, J. Martin Holman, Translator North Point Press $15.95 (164p) ISBN 978-0-86547-278-5
Whether this subtle and brooding novel, here making its first appearance in English, deserves to rank alongside Snow Country and Thousand Cranes as one of Kawabata's major works is debatable, but it contains all the Nobel laureate's most striking characteristicsacute esthetic sensibility, preoccupation with the clash between old and new, pervasive melancholy and a story line suggestive of a Zen brush-and-ink painting where what is omitted is as important as what is included. Set in Kyoto, the Japanese city most symbolic of tradition, the story centers on a young woman, Chieko, whohaving been brought up to think her parents stole her as a baby in a fit of passionate desireis profoundly disturbed to learn (after a chance encounter with a girl who turns out to be her sister) that her real parents had abandoned her. Her identity crisis is exacerbated by her need to choose between carrying on her adoptive father's kimono-designing business, now in decay, and leaving home to marry. It's an intensely poetic story in which much is evoked, little stated or concluded. (June 20)
Reviewed on: 05/01/1987
Release date: 05/01/1987
Open Ebook - 197 pages - 978-1-58243-908-2
Paperback - 164 pages - 978-0-86547-411-6
Paperback - 182 pages - 978-1-59376-032-8
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