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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.


Grade: (D)


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)
    -SYNOPSES: Works of Kawabata Yasunari
    -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)

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