Date Finished: October 25, 2008
Let me first start by saying that before this book, I knew nothing of Japanese Literature. After reading Memoirs of a Geisha I fell in love with Japanese culture, and needed more knowledge. I have seen a couple reviews in different blogs of this book, and thought I would embark upon more lovely novels of the Japanese variety.
I can be somewhat of an ignorant person, as my journey through this novel has proven. The reviews were all so great and positive, I was really looking forward to a great read. This book accomplished that for me, but in such a different way than I had anticipated.
Shimamura, is a successful businessman from Tokyo and visiting the Snow Country. While there meets a young geisha , Komako. Their first meeting was not something that drew the passion to follow. The story follows them through their relationship. She gives her whole self willingly to him, and he doesn't return that same passion. Yoko, another woman that comes into the story has also captivated Shimamura although he was captivated at first glace with her. Komaku and Yoko were somewhat of rivals, I got the sense, but that was never fully confirmed to me in the book.
The storyline is quite simple. The book could easily be considered a bore if reading just for the story. In the foreword, the book is described as a beautiful Haiku.
Knowing a little bit about the Haiku, I was able to appreciate the writings of Kawabata. By the descriptions of surroundings, you as the reader are able to feel the emotions that are trying to be portrayed in the story. I have heard that the story is a small glimpse into the cold and lonely life of Kawabata. Perhaps the simple title Snow Country is a prefect description of that life.
There are many aspects to the story that I am sure were overlooked while trying to stay with the storyline (it jumps around a lot). I am definitely going to read this book again as it is such a quick read. Next time, I will spend a lot more time delving into the meanings and see what is hiding there for me.
I am looking forward to reading more of his novels and also more Japanese Literature.