My first book read in 2023 was Snow Country, by Kawabata Yasunari. The writing in this book is elegant in its simplicity and imagery. The story is an existential love story. I was completely drawn in by the storytelling, the images the author painted in my mind, and the sadness of what the author called “wasted effort.” This sad story was considered his masterpiece. Kawabata received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1968 for all of his works.
At an isolated mountain hot spring, with snow blanketing every surface, Shimamura, a wealthy dilettante meets Komako, a lowly geisha. She gives herself to him fully and without remorse, despite knowing that their passion cannot last and that the affair can have only one outcome. In chronicling the course of this doomed romance, Kawabata has created a story for the ages, a stunning novel dense in implication and exalting in its sadness.
While looking online for information about Kawabata, I discovered that the Japanese Broadcasting Corporation, NHK- Japan, was making a new film adaptation of the novel available free until October 2023. It is presented in two parts, each about 50 minutes long. I watched it last night after finishing the book, and it was absolutely beautiful. Along with the film, there was a lot of very interesting information about the author and the writing of this book. CLICK HERE TO LINK TO THE FILM.