‘Beauty and Sadness’: Yasunari Kawabata’s last published novel explores the extremes of human emotion

By Kris Kosaka

beauty and sadnessNobel Prize winner Yasunari Kawabata’s “Beauty and Sadness” is a sparse and elegant dissection of the messiest human emotions.

It’s also a study in Japanese aesthetics, as the central characters all have some connection to the arts, and Kawabata deftly paints their worlds with mesmerizing imagery and use of detail.

Successful writer Oki Toshio, 54, longs to hear the New Year’s bells in Kyoto with his former mistress, Otoko Ueno, who was only 15 when Oki seduced her. The forbidden, passionate affair had resulted in a stillborn child followed by Otoko’s suicide attempt. Married with a young son, Oki considers suicide himself until the couple are separated when Otoko’s mother intervenes. Read more

Source: The Japan Times