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Thousand Cranes ()


Nobel Prize Winners (1968)

Words fail me in the effort to express the superhuman act of will which was required to continue reading this book after the opening scene, wherein a young boy, Kikuji, spies his father's mistress clipping hairs from the birthmark which covers most of her breast.  Try shaking that image from your head.  At any rate, Kikuji, now a grown man, becomes involved with both another mistress of his now deceased father's and her daughter.  Meanwhile, the birthmarked mistress somehow feels free to meddle in his life and tries to set him up with another young woman.  All of this is set against the backdrop of the ritual of the ancient Japanese tea ceremony.  Eventually, as it must, tragedy strikes as one woman after another commits suicide.

Yeah, so?

If the word dysfunctional did not exist, it would have to have been invented to describe Kikuji's romantic life.  As if wading through your old man's detritus was not bad enough, topping it off by pursuing a mother and daughter would have to be described as begging for trouble.  Add to this the fact that none of the characters are terribly likable and that Kikuji is almost completely passive and you've got a book that is hard to fathom or to like.  Ultimately, I felt like there were too few suicides--I wanted them all put out of my misery and that birthmark trimming schtick purged from my memory.

(Reviewed:)

Grade: (D)

  

Websites:

Book-related and General Links:
    -Yasunari Kawabata (1899-1972)(kirjasto)
    -ENCYCLOPAEDIA BRITANNICA: Yasunari Kawabata (Guide to the Nobel Prizes)
    -Yasunari Kawabata (unofficial webpage)
    -Yasunari Kawabata (Official Nobel site)
    -YASUNARI KAWABATA: 1968 Nobel Laureate in Literature (Nobel Prize Internet Archives)
    -YASUNARI KAWABATA BIBLIOGRAPHY
    -SYNOPSES: Works of Kawabata Yasunari
    -ARTICLE: KAWABATA'S STORIES TRANSLATED (Robert Taylor, Boston Globe)
    -REVIEW: D.J. Enright: The Japanese Nobel, NY Review of Books
       Snow Country and Thousand Cranes by Yasunari Kawabata
    -REVIEW: of Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata (aaron tyler morris)
    -REVIEW: of PALM-OF-THE-HAND STORIES By Yasunari Kawabata (Marian Ury, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of THE OLD CAPITAL tr,br1By Yasunari Kawabata (Mary Jo Salter, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of THE OLD CAPITAL. By Yasunari Kawabata (Herbert Mitgang, NY Times)
    -REVIEW: of FIRST SNOW ON FUJI By Yasunari Kawabata (Mary Jo Salter, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of THE DANCING GIRL OF IZU And Other Stories. By Yasunari Kawabata (Mark Morris, NY Times Book Review)

GENERAL:
    -REVIEW: of DAWN TO THE WEST Japanese Literature in the Modern Era. By Donald Keene. Volume One: Fiction (Jay Rubin, NY Times Book Review)

Comments:

i didnt understand what the book was talking about as i read i was waiting to find the theme and get to the actual topic of the book. Not to mention it drug on and on about nothin inperticular. It left me thinking what was the point of that?

- Brooke

- Jan-22-2007, 19:53

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GREAT REVIEW everything you said is correct.

- Michael

- Mar-20-2006, 22:07

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Your review shows your ignorance, the fixation on the birthmark is proof that you are shallow. The book is ephemereal, subtle and beautiful. Stick to Stephen King and Wilbur Smith until you learn to appreciate anything original that wasn't just written to top the bestseller lists.

- ray

- Oct-31-2005, 18:47

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Nobody cares what you hillbilly Republicans think.

- BrothersDudd

- May-10-2005, 14:45

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I can only support Rian in his comments on Orrin's critique, it is absolutely appaling and too sad to even be called rediculous! No appreciation for other cultures and not even the willingness to try and understand other peoples' perspectives, ey???? Once more the typical "only the way I think and the place I come from is good and every other way of looking at things is trash" attitude, pretty pathetic. Go read Peter Pan and be happy man..

- Sara Meier

- Oct-13-2003, 08:33

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your (Orrin) review is terrible, while the story is definately dark, especially with the women that continually die within kikuji's life, it still contains the element of redemption at the end because kikuji feels he has broken the curse. it is amazing that you finished the story because your estimation of the value of this novel is horrible, and absolutely frivolous, your reviews offers nothing in the way of critical thought. while trying to make a joke of the novel you sound like a moron, i would suggest you never read again, and at the very least never post a reveiw ever again. you suck. ryan miller

- ryan miller

- Jul-10-2003, 17:31

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your (Orrin) review is terrible, while the story is definately dark, especially with the women that continually die within kikuji, it still contains the element of redemption at the end because kikuji feels he has broken the curse. it is amazing that you finished the story because estimation of the value of this story horrible, and completely under values the story as a whole, while trying to make a joke out of the novel you sound like a moron, i would suggest you never read again, and at the very least never post a reveiw ever again. you suck. ryan miller

- ryan miller

- Jul-10-2003, 17:24

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