Title: Snow Country
Author: Yasunari Kawabata
Genre: Literature, fiction, romance, Japanese.
Publication Date: 1935-1937 (serialized) (translation 1956).
Summary: A story of a wasted love set amid the desolate beauty of western Japan, the snowiest region on earth. It is there, at an isolated mountain hot-spring, that the wealthy sophisticate Shimamura meets the geisha Komako, who gives herself to him without regrets, knowing that their passion cannot last. Shimamura is a dilettante of the feelings; Komako has staked her life on them, and their doomed affair can have only one outcome.
My rating: 6.5/10
♥ Somewhere in his heart Shimamura saw a question, as clearly as if it were standing there before him: was there something, what would happen, between the woman his hand remembered and the woman in who eye that mountain light had glowed? Or had he not yet shaken off the spell of the evening landscape in that mirror? He wondered whether the flowing landscape was nor perhaps symbolic of the passage of time.
♥ Shimamura, who lived a life of idleness, found that he tended to lose his honesty with himself, and he frequently went out alone in the mountains to recover something of it.
♥ "I don't like to sing. I did learn a few songs from my dancing, and I manage to get through them, but newer things I've had to pick up from the radio. I've no idea how near right I am. My own private style - you'd laugh at it, I know. And then my voice gives out when I'm singing for someone I know well. It's always loud and brave for strangers."
♥ "I couldn't. I really couldn't. I couldn't possibly write the sort of letter your wife would see. I couldn't bring myself to. I don't tell lies just because people might be listening."
♥ "Tokyo people are complicated. They live in such noise and confusion that their feelings are broken to little bits."
"Everything is broken to little bits."
"Even life, before long..."
♥ He stayed not because he could not leave Komako nor because he did not want to. He had simply fallen into the habit of waiting for those frequent visits. And the more continuous the assault became, the more he began to wonder what was lacking in him, what kept him from living as completely. He stood gazing at his own coldness, so to speak. He could not understand how she had so lost herself. All of Komako came to him, but it seemed that nothing went out from him to her. He heard in his chest, like snow piling up, the sound of Komako, an echo beating against empty walls. And he knew that he could not go on pampering himself forever.
♥ This rather unremarkable thought struck him as most remarkable. The labor into which a heart has poured its whole love - where will it have its say, to excite and inspire, and when?
♥ The Milky Way. Shimamura too looked up, and he felt himself floating into the Milky Way. Its radiance was so near that it seemed to take him up into it. Was this the bright vastness the poet Bashō saw when he wrote of the Milky Way arched over stormy sea? The Milky Way came down just over there, to wrap the night earth in its naked embrace. There was a terrible voluptuousness about it. Shumamura fancied that his own small shadow was being cast up against it from the earth. Each individual stare stood apart from the rest, and even the particles of silver dust in the luminous clouds could be picked out, so clear was the night. The limitless depth of the Milky Way pulled his gaze up into it.
...As he caught his footing, his head fell back, and the Milky Way flowed down inside him with a roar.