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It's hard to review this book without resorting to the sort of cliche you'd expect in a review of a Japanese novel, i.e., that it's a delicate haiku, a subtle watercolor painting, a poetically melancholy glimpse of life. The thing is, Thousand Cranes really is all of these. Kawabata's writing is almost unbearably delicate; all of the emotions and crises are merely hinted at, as subtly as possibly, and so made perhaps more deeply moving. The story itself also has a painful and elusive quality: it is the story of a young man struggling to find a life and a love distinct from those of his late father's. Every word in the book is highly symbolic and yet undeniably human. In short, I was really impressed with the writing and will definitely look for more by the same author.
As for the reader: Brian Nishii certainly knows how to pronounce the Japanese names correctly, which is very important -- very often, audiobook narrators will mispronounce foreign words, which can be quite jarring if you happen to know what the language is supposed to sound like. Other than that, Nishii does an OK job. Some of his characterizations sounded a little off to me, and his pauses were a little too short on occasion, but the overall result is perfectly acceptable.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful
of "the sins of the fathers being visited on the sons." Love, lust, suicide. Everything you want in a Japanese classic.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful