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Palm of the Hand Stories (Picador Books) Paperback – 12 Jan 1990

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Picador (12 Jan. 1990)
  • ISBN-10: 0330310232
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330310239
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,157,774 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"Kawabata does for the short story what Paul Klee did for painting and Webern for music, showing how to get the profoundest experience and the surest sense of artistic form into an extremely small work. These stories inspire and go on inspiring. They make writing a story seem-and it may be-as natural a result of deep excited feeling as writing a poem."--Kenneth Koch "These stories are jewels, indeed, each one has a soul, a life, or a whole work distilled to palm-sized proportions."--"Chicago Tribune""There are few other writers who could invoke such a lasting memory of a single image with so few words."--"San Francisco Chronicle" --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Yasunari Kawabata was born in Osaka, Japan, in 1899 and before World War II had established himself as his country's leading novelist. Among his major works are "Snow Country," "A Thousand Cranes," and "The Master of Go." Awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1968, he died in 1972. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I adored this book. It was very disturbing, yet really made you think. Kawabata is an incredible writer. This book is unlike his others, yet it was very good! To this day, some of the stories still haunt my mind. I strongly suggest you get this!
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Format: Paperback
This book is a collection of very short stories. They were written during various stages of the authors life (20s-70s). While I didn't understand some of them, most were quite pretty. I recommend it for those who enjoy unusual literature (from a typical American view at least).
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9338d828) out of 5 stars 16 reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9339a5e8) out of 5 stars No Generic Syrup 10 May 2004
By Boz Hubris - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
If you like Sudden Fiction as a genre but not the usual silliness which accompanies it, this is the perfect union of very short fiction, craftsmanship and seriousness. Not always serious in tone but in effort. For the most part they are tender stories of rememberance, loss and the betterments of life. They are brief and dream-worthy, almost as if they were prose acting as poetry:
"Startled by a sharp pain, as if her hair were being pulled out, she woke up three or four times. But when she realized that a skein of her black hair was wound around the neck of her lover, she smiled to herself. In the morning, she would say, "My hair is this long now. When we sleep together, it truly grows longer."
Quietly she closed her eyes.
"I don't want to sleep. Why do we have to sleep? Even though we are lovers, to have to go to sleep, of all things!" On nights when it was all right for her to stay with him, she would say this, as if it were a mystery to her." from Sleeping Habit
Even when the stories are harsh they aren't beleagured with excess, but consequential life and its misgivings with some ironic humor interjected amongst the living ghosts. The same can be said for the norm: lush stories that are kindly felt but never over-sentimentalizations and mush. A great bed-side companion to make you dream better and wake a little more human.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9339a63c) out of 5 stars Haiku as a short story 15 Nov. 2001
By Zack Davisson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is filled with over 100 short stories, most between 1 and 3 pages long. Each story is somewhat plotless, but is more of a brief character study. A quick sketch, at the most, that captures the essence of the character rather than the details. Each character and situation is a glimpse into the past, of Japan at that time. The stories have the quiet patience of a haiku, and the miniature perfection of a well-tended bonsai tree.
Like a haiku, the limitation of form requires that each sentence be important. There are no throw-away lines in any of the "Palm-of-the-Hand Stories." The sparse loveliness of the English language as used is interesting because the book is translated from Japanese. The book was translated by two translators, and each story is signed so you know who translated what. This allows for subtle variance in the stories.
Kawabata is Japan's first Nobel prize winner. This is the first book by Kawabata that I have read, and I will be sure to seek other's out. A final recommendation, because of the length of the stories, I have found this to be one of the best bedside books I own. I can read a quick story before going to sleep.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x936f8bf4) out of 5 stars sad and touching, very modern and ultimately cinematographic 18 Jun. 2001
By Boris Aleksandrovsky - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Palm-Of-The-Hand Stories by Yasunari Kawabata is a collection of over 100 stories written over 40 years time period starting in early 1920s. This collection includes the 6 page compressed version of novel a "Snow Country"; "Thank you", a masterpiece of minimalist expression (made into a movie); other stories where themes familiar to Kawabata readers are told. Kawabata pen has a sharpness of the journalist; immediacy of the witness and wisdom of a contemplator. Frankly, most of those stories are so sad, that I could not read more then a few a setting. However, I always returned for more. I do not think your Kawabata collection will be complete without it.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9339a8c4) out of 5 stars Beautiful collection of short stories! 8 Feb. 2003
By CoffeeGurl - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
House of the Sleeping Beauties is one of my favorite anthologies, and I couldn't wait to get my hands on another book from this brilliant author. The stories in Palm of the Hand are full of poetic and philosophical undertones and magical realism. My favorite one is "Bamboo-Leaf Boats," a poignant tale about a woman who grieves the loss of her fiance. The pain the protagonist goes through moved me. The other stories are beautiful as well. I suggest you read this wonderful book...
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9339ab04) out of 5 stars These are lovely 6 July 2010
By Liz L. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The story of the children and the lanterns was so lovely - the others were a treat to read too, but the lantern story is definitely my favorite. I also loved the story about the women waiting with umbrellas at the train station. There's also a really great one about a straw hat.

These stories are often very short (a couple of pages each, sometimes just one) and often they have a dream-like quality - they reminded me of magical realism a little, because like dreams the flow of events is not always linear or logical. I found them very soothing, though. I mean, I feel like some dreams are horrifying, all choppy and disorienting, everything just a little bit "off", and you never know what's going to happen next... these stories weren't like that. In spite of the dreamy "weirdness" at play in some of these, I found them really easy to relate to, but magical at the same time - aw, man, I wish I could describe it better, but they were just really nice!

I agree with another reviewer who said this'd make a great coffee table book (or - ha, sorry to be crude but - it'd probably be great in the bathroom too!). These are great stories to "chew on", because they hint at all kinds of meaning, sort of like a bunch of puzzles - you can read one quickly if you're bored, and they're still interesting on the second or third read. These stories are not all "weird", by the way - some of them are just funny, or touching, or cute. In any case, this is really just a lovely collection. Highly recommended!
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