Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
The Art of Makeup by Kevyn Aucoin (1996-04-24) Paperback – 1643
"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Pre-order today
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Kawabata maintains an element of mystery among each character, especially the enigmatic Yoko about whom even the careful reader can find out little until it all clicks in the end. But in spite of the complexity of their personalities, the characters do come alive and in the end their actions make total sense, even if the reader was baffled in the pages before. Make no mistake, SNOW COUNTRY is a difficult work, especially in translation, but its ending, involving a glorious epiphany for its protagonist, is transcendent and mystically beautiful.
In spite of the pains of confused love which forever torment Simamura and Komako, SNOW COUNTRY is full everywhere of beauty, especially the pure white landscape which is perpetually in the background. Kawabata presents such powerful images: Yoko reflected in the train window super-imposed on the blur of the countryside, moths dying in droves in the autumn, the fire consuming the theatre, and finally perhaps the most important scene in the novel, the "Heavenly River" descending from the sky straight into Simamura's soul. Kawabata writes with such precision and uses not a single unecessary word that it is as if this slim volume holds an entire world within it.
Regrettably this translation, the only one available in English, is incredibly poor. Edward Seidensicker is know for the quantity of his translations from Japanese, he tackled a ton of Japanese classics from authors as diverse as Kawabata and Lady Murasaki. He is not known for the quality of his translations. Case in a point, the ending: Seidensticker translates Komako's wail as "She's crazy", whereas in at least the Russian translation and the Esperanto translation it's rendered as "She'll go crazy" (future tense), which is important because it makes a reference to an earlier part of the novel. As Simamura is jostled in the crowd, slips, and has his rendevous with destiny, Seidensticker translates this section in an almost comical fashion, as if Simamura was a cartoon character slipping on a banana peel. Seidensticker wasn't really capable of translating a novel such as SNOW COUNTRY, which was written in a very austere and frigid style befitting its setting, because he couldn't help trying to add unnecessary warmth and texture to Kawabata's novel. I first read SNOW COUNTRY in the translation into Esperanto by Konisi Gaku, and I would in fact recommend that for Westerners. If English is one's only language, however, Seidensticker's translation, poor as it may be, is unfortunately the only option.
Independent of which translation one reads, it does bear saying that, just as with every other creation of the Japanese language, SNOW COUNTRY undoubtedly loses some of its essence in translation. Also, Japanese etiquette may seem nonsensical to Westerners. I notice I wasn't the only one driven mad by Komako saying "I'm going now," Simamura responding "Ok, fine, go," and then "She sat down." or Komako retorting "No, I'm staying." Nonetheless, these are no reasons not to experience this jewel of world literature.
I wholeheartedly recommend SNOW COUNTRY and truly hope that it becomes better known in the West. This novel leaves an indelible mark in one's soul, and its tragic passion juxtaposed with an uplifiting glimpse of higher reality stay with the reader long after Simamura is left under the Milky Way.
This book gives the reader a sense of a time and a place and a social contract that has gone on in Japan for centuries. Throughout, there is a feeling of sadness and despair. I felt very sorry for the geisha and was not surprised at the unhappy ending.
However, this book is a classic and I am glad that I read it. It introduced me to a time and place and a way of life that unfortunately still exists. It is a tale told with subtlety and a command of language that makes this story all too real.
Most recent customer reviews
Not really a plot novel, but a mood novel.Read more