Returning to Kyoto, where temple bells announce the New Year, a grave and penitent Oki is drawn to a haunting obsession from his past. Gently lyrical, yet fierce with the stark intensity of passion, Kawabata's last novel tells the story of the lasting consequences of a brief love affair.
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nostalgic literature from Japan
Beautifully written, but lacks perspective
I'll get to Nishii later. As for Kawabata I will definitely try him again because the language and style used was extraordinarily beautiful and I really liked it.
While I do have a very dull theory of why it ended as it did (what did happen isn't explicitly said, but it's quite clear) I just hope there's a better and deeper explanation. So my stance on the ending is that I didn't get it, despite listening through the two last chapters twice.
I've listened to two Mishima books by Brian Nishii before (Temple of the Golden Pavillion and Sound of Waves) and was very impressed with his narration. For this book however I was a bit disappointed. It's still really good, but not nearly as good as his Mishima performances.
What I really like about him, and where I feel he failed a bit here, is that he usually pronounces Japanese names in a very non-garbled non-american accent but still without having it sound forced or interrupting the flow of the text. It still doesn't interrupt the text, but it is a bit less authentic in this one.
Oh, and his interpretation of the younger girl is really annoying. But you get used to it.
I don't think this is the appropriate venue for such confessions.
A lot of it is written from a female perspective by a very male writer. I like having books from a woman's point of view every now and then, but despite being from a female perspective it's very clearly written by a man. We're talking way over 50% of the book being from the women's perspective (there are two of them) with little trace of them having a life that's not circulating around Oki and his son.
Of course, the book is in part a product of it's time and all but this really got to me. It's my only complaint about the book, but it's a big one.