Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Beauty and Sadness

 Another month, another book by a Japanese writer... This time it was Kawabata's masterpiece, "Beauty and Sadness". It is a book about lost love, regret and the way we may or may not cope with all that, in fact, it is a sad story, one that leaves you pondering over the way one can (or cannot) move beyond despair and unshared love. It is the story whose main characters are the feelings people experience, not themselves. It is the place where hesitation and indecision alter the characters forever.

"Oki had thought he would telephone her the next day, if not that night, or drop in at her house. But in the morning, after being awakened by his neighbors' children, he began to feel hesitant, and decided to send her a special letter. As he sat at the writing desk staring perplexedly at a blank sheet of hotel stationery he decided that he need not see her, that it would be enough to hear the bells alone and then go back."

If you are the type of person that enjoys haiku, then you will find the story simply beautiful because to me, it felt like one, even if it stretches over 160 pages, not 17 syllables.  Written 50 years ago and being Kawabata's last published work, "Beauty and Sadness" presents the old writer Oki and his obsession with lost love decades ago, when Otoko loved him but he betrayed her. The story turns into a love triangle meant to go wrong... 

“Time passed. But time flows in many streams. Like a river, an inner stream of time will flow rapidly at some places and sluggishly at others, or perhaps even stand hopelessly stagnant. Cosmic time is the same for everyone, but human time differs with each person. Time flows in the same way for all human beings; every human being flows through time in a different way.” 

Read for my pleasure and for the Japanese Reading Challenge 8

2 comments:

Bellezza Mjs said...

Oh, Ally, what a beautiful review! I loved every bit of it, from the picture collage, to the thoughts you shared, to the quotes from Kawabata. And, it occurred to me as I read, that I do not know this book! I was thinking of The Gold Pavilion (exact title, I'm not sure?) and I've never read Beauty and Sadness. However, the whole idea of obsessing over lost love appeals to me, strangely,mperhaps because I'm of an age where I tend to look back rather than forward. Silly me.

Ally said...

I am glad you liked it. I am trying to say a lot with few words, just like in a haiku, which I love :) As for looking back, or ahead, I think these are the reasons that make us worry... not living in the present and enjoying the fleeting moment, which seems easier said than done...