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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An emotional maelstrom of a novel, 8 Oct 2007
By 
Mr. D. Woods "dwoods92" - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Beauty and Sadness (Paperback)
Penned by the great Yasunari Kawabata, 'Beauty and Sadness' possesses all the familiar characteristics of his novels: repressed emotion, love, lust, pain and the delicate painting of Japanese manners and expression. The story concerns Oki, a middle-aged writer, whose passionate and torrid affair with the naive Ueno colours both their lives decades later. His published account of their time together has caused tensions in his own family, as well as haunting Ueno. And when Ueno's unstable and seductive pupil vows a campaign of revenge against Oki, things spiral rapidly out of control.

It probably goes without saying that 'Beauty and Sadness' is far from an upbeat novel but don't let that discourage you from indulging in what proves to be a satisfying and essential read. Kawabata's precise symbolism, particularly employed through Ueno's paintings and descriptions Japanese of society, hints at the brooding turmoil of emotion that beautifully captures the complexity of human expression. The book is the more potent for withholding access into the character's lives and, though they are often hard to like, you never fail to feel empathy with their conflicts. As we are all too aware, confessing emotion is not something that people find easy and Kawabata's powers of observation are startlingly accurate, perhaps even more relevant today than ever.

A great novel by a great author and one of those rare, important works that live with the reader long after they've turned the final page. Gripping in its clarity, it deserves far more recognition from the literary establishment than it currently has and I think, in today's uncertain times, Kawabata's account of alienation and internecine relationships is ripe for re-discovery.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dripping in Emotion, 3 Oct 2011
This review is from: Beauty and Sadness (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
After my foray into the work of Murakami it was nice to try another Japanese novelist. This entertaining psycho thriller has some interesting ideas at its core. An incident between two characters years earlier sets a series of other characters into action, the central couple only share two scenes in the book which helps with sadness that drips over every page. Never has a title been so perfect for summarising the tone of a book. It's refreshingly short at 120 odd pages and would have made a great Mikio Naruse film!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating novel!, 13 July 2012
This review is from: Beauty and Sadness (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
This is a fascinating and poignant novel about a doomed love affair between two characters, Oki and Otoko, that triggers fatal consequences for them both. In spite of his love, Oki has to leave Otaka after the death of their premature child and her breakdown. Twenty years after this event, he decides to meet her again, but this time, he has to meet Keiko too, Otoko's lover, who wants to seek revenge against him for having treated Otoko so badly many years ago.
This is a beautiful poetic story about passion and revenge and the complexity of human characters and relations.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poetry of brushstrokes., 16 April 2006
By 
Anita Treso "ast31" (North London, UK) - See all my reviews
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Beauty and Sadness is a love story between a fifteen year old girl and her married lover. We learn about the affair through the thoughts and conversations of the two lovers, Oki, now in his fifties, and Otoko now in her late thirties. These memories are painful for those involved and those outside the relationship and the novel explores the ripple effects of such an affair. Oki is a novelist and his most famous novel is that of his affair with Otoko. Otoko is now a well-known artist, and it is her protege and lover, Keiko, who seeks revenge for Otoko. She embarks on a subtle, but painful deceit of Oki's adult son, Taichiro and Oki himself. It is Oki's wife, Fumiko, who suffered during Oki's affair, during the publication of his novel, which she typed up for him as she typed all his work, and then she suffers because of Keiko's act of revenge. Although the story begins with a man remembering his past lover, the intensity between all the characters draws you into their subterfuge. Kawabata shows how the younger generation inflict their ideas and emotions onto the past, making this a very different love story. Kawabata weaves strands of pain and loss into the novel, past and present ebb and flow. Another important character within the novel, is Japan itself. Kawabata paints brushstrokes of images and settings which support the characters and become a part of the story. The novel is a peice of artwork in it's description of environment and events. A great master at work, both in the vivid images and emotions of the characters and in the twists and turns of the plot. The unexpected and sometimes shocking revelations are only believable because Kawabata has made the extraordinary, ordinary.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece of beauty and sadness, 2 May 2014
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This is a late work by one of Japan's finest writers, and it has, even before its darker purpose is revealed, a sense of melancholy about it. Readers of Kawabata's 'Snow Country' will recognise many of Kawabata's motifs, but in my opinion, this book is even better. It is beautiful, subtle, intriguing and compelling. I was reminded of Thomas Mann's 'Death in Venice', not so much by any similarity of theme or plot, as by the sense of mastery achieved.
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5.0 out of 5 stars fresh and imaginative great writer, 22 July 2014
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L. Andre - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Beauty and Sadness (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
Succinct imagery. Profound elegance. Japanese, of whom we think we know so much and yet understand so little. Their writers have been writing 'stream of conscience' style prose since long before Kerouac and Celine. Fresh and imaginative writing from the poetic Kawabata
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 28 Oct 2014
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This review is from: Beauty and Sadness (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
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Beauty and Sadness (Penguin Modern Classics)
Beauty and Sadness (Penguin Modern Classics) by Yasunari Kawabata (Paperback - 6 Jan 2011)
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