Title: Snow Country
Author: Yasunari Kawabata
I am finding with literature on both ends of the Asian continent, imagery takes precedent over plot and character. Kawabata's (translated) language is frequently stunning, brimming with perfect sentences like "The river seemed to flow from the tips of the cedar branches." I suppose it's not surprising in cultures where poetry is the dominant literary medium but I need something more to be carried away by a story.
The book did make me curious about Japan's western regions, an area I never visited in my time there. Japan's an extraordinary country in terms of climate. On the eastern, Pacific side, where the vast majority of the population lives, the weather is much like the American southeast: warm, humid summers and mild winters. But on the western side of the Japanese Alps, you're essentially in Siberia. The town of the story - never named but it's based on the hot spring town of Yuzawa - really isn't so far from Tokyo in terms of miles but as it's on the western side of the mountains, it's another world in winter. 5-10 feet of snow on the ground is perfectly normal. Avalanches are a genuine hazard. Rough living, to be sure, but I'd still love to see it sometime. Plus, I love a hot bath!
Please join us and share your own review of your best read from the past month. This month's link list is below. I'll keep it open until the end of the day. I'll post October's tomorrow. Meetings are the last Friday of each month. Next gathering is October 28th.