Palm-Of-The-Hand Stories

Yasunari Kawabata, Author, J. Martin Holman, Translator, Lane Dunlop, Translator North Point Press $19.95 (238p) ISBN 978-0-86547-325-6
Nobel laureate Kawabata is best known in the West for such novels as Snow Country and Thousand Cranes, yet his short stories, written over 50 years, seem to contain his essence as a writer. Here sensitively translated are 70 of them, most written in Kawabata's youth and usually no more than a page or two in length, though the last one, ``Gleanings from Snow Country,'' is somewhat longer and was written just before Kawabata's suicide in 1972; it is a miniaturization of the highly praised novel of the same name. The tales are variously realistic, allegorical and fantastic; and, as in the novels, the principal themes are love, loneliness, social change, man's relation with nature and death. Each story exhibits some sharp and often subtle perception of life (in Kawabata's world, stillness can ``resound'' and men listening to a woman's laugh can experience ``a strange kind of aural jealousy''); and each, like a haiku or classic Zen painting, suggests far more than it states. (July)
Reviewed on: 07/01/1988
Release date: 07/01/1988
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-0-86547-412-3
Paperback - 259 pages - 978-0-374-53049-5
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