My first introduction with Japanese literature was a couple years ago. I still feel enchanted with the short story by Murakami and I didn’t know that Japanese could write beautifully. I was so blind. Turns out, the way Murakami tells his stories is an antithesis of what Japanese literature really is. They have one specific fabulous novelist which apparently tell about the so-called “real” Japanese culture. So I googled it and comes the first Japanese Nobel prize awardee, Yasunari Kawabata. Without any doubt, I try my best to explore the Beauty and Sadness.
This is a delicate love story opens with a trip to kyoto and a journey into the past by Oki Toshio, a successful author. He travels to Kyoto to hear the New Year’s Eve Bells with his old lover, Otoko Ueno. Twenty years ago, at the age of fifteen, Otoko fell in love with Oki, who was married with a young son at the time of the affair. Otoko fell pregnant, but her baby was born prematurely only to die shortly after the birth. This made her mental down and tried to suicide. Her mother moved the family to Kyoto in an effort to put some distance between the two former lovers.
The narration back to the present : Otoko already has a girlfriend, in the explicit way this novel describe when she turns into lesbian, and Oki sold millions of copy of A Girl of Sixteen, A novel about his relationship with Otoko. Those 2 long decades never dimmed their love. However, their story turns into a destruction when Keiko, Otoko’s jealous girlfriend, disrupt their past love
The story goes between flashbacks from years ago and brief yet significant moments in the present. Kawabata’s prose has the feeling of painting but he leaves some scope for the reader to draw their own interpretation from the picture. It might be spoiler but this book left with the unanswered ending. In a way, this ending adds to the beauty of this poignant novella.