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The Sound of the Mountain Hardcover – Jun 1970

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Hardcover, Jun 1970
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Random House Inc (T); First Edition edition (Jun. 1970)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394446283
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394446288
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,641,918 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Yasunari Kawabata was born near Osaka in 1899 and was orphaned at the age of two. His first stories were published while he was still in high school and he decided to become a writer. He graduated from Tokyo Imperial University in 1924 and a year later made his first impact on Japanese letters with Izu Dancer. He soon became a leading figure the lyrical school that offered the chief challenge to the proletarian literature of the late 1920s. His writings combine the two forms of the novel and the haiku poems, which within restrictions of a rigid metre achieves a startling beauty by its juxtaposition of opposite and incongruous terms. Snow Country (1956) and Thousand Cranes (1959) brought him international recognition. Kawabata died by his own hand, on April 16 1972.

The Sound of the Mountain is translated from the Japanese by Edward G. Seidensticker (1921-2007), who was a prominent scholar of Japanese literature.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By PeterH on 22 July 2007
Format: Paperback
Planning a trip to Japan, I decided to read this novel, which I bought, never read and then lost back in the sixties. I soon realised why Kawabata won the Noble Prize. The understated style reminded me of Jane Austen, older and sadder and transported to a very different culture. The interplay of characters is fascinating and as the book develops, you develop a great sympathy for people who at the beginning seem to have little obvious attraction. By the end you feel sad to leave them. If you enjoy a subtle story and deep insight into human nature, don't miss this book.
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23 of 29 people found the following review helpful By User601 on 23 Feb. 2004
Format: Paperback
'Do you want to read this book?' is probably the question you are trying to find the answer to if you are reading this. Tricky one. Not as your first Kawabata novel, I would suggest...
Kawabata's writing style is somewhat unique. So little is revealed in the lines of text, it is left up to the reader to interpret deeper meaning. All you get at face value is the telling of everyday life, slow and without event or excitement, almost as if describing the world to a blind man. It is all very pleasantly told and reads well (despite Seidensticker, who by a notable lack of praise it seems is recognised as a not particularly good translator). But the fact that you have to fill in the blanks yourself, guessing emotions from people's reactions (unusual in a book, and if you're like me, needing some re-reading before enlightenment) means it is not for all. This applies to all Kawabata's work. There is more than a little imagination involved to get the full effect, although you are given some pointers. The bonus is that so much is left unsaid, the result becomes highly personalised. Adding in the effort required to see through the lightweight text to the much stronger imagery beneath, the task becomes highly rewarding. Probably why those who like their Kawabata book covet it so strongly.
Once you have deeply appreciated one Kawabata though, will you want or need more? The style stands out in part because it is so different. And some of the most notable phrases/observations are repeated in his other novels, reducing the effect (although again, not having read the original texts I do not know how far Seidensticker's wording is to blame).
There is a good chance you will want to stop and cling to one as a favourite. That is why I would recommend a different choice to start with.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a superb piece of writing, so far as I can judge from the translation. It is set in the period shortly after the Second World War. The central character, Shingo, is growing old, and beginning to suffer worrying lapses of memory. His two children are both experiencing marital troubles, so the serenity he might have hoped for is proving hard to find. Living with the consequences of decisions he made long ago, he is consoled by the affection of his daughter-in-law. Readers who require definite endings may be disappointed, but this is a beautiful read.
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By English learner on 14 Jan. 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An impressive work of literature. Despite being a nobel prize Kawabata is not widely known. His writing style feels like a big haiku. Warning: read only if you think sitting in a zen garden is not a waste of time
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By David on 4 Dec. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is another truly amazing work by the old master. In fact, I think it's my favourite. But anyway, I wish Amazon would pay tax in the UK. Taxes pay for schools that teach people to read. People who read buy books from Amazon. It's money they owe. Pay up Amazon!
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