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Beauty and Sadness (Japanese: 美しさと哀しみと Utsukushisa to kanashimi to) is a 1964 novel by Japanese author Yasunari Kawabata.Opening on the train to Kyoto, the narrative, in characteristic Kawabata fashion, subtly brings up issues of tradition and modernity as it explores writer Oki Toshio's reunion with a young lover from his past, Otoko Ueno, who is now a famous artist and rBeauty and Sadness (Japanese: 美しさと哀しみと Utsukushisa to kanashimi to) is a 1964 novel by Japanese author Yasunari Kawabata.Opening on the train to Kyoto, the narrative, in characteristic Kawabata fashion, subtly brings up issues of tradition and modernity as it explores writer Oki Toshio's reunion with a young lover from his past, Otoko Ueno, who is now a famous artist and recluse. Ueno is now living with her protegée and a jealous lover, Keiko Sakami, and the unfolding relationships between Oki, Otoko, and Keiko form the plot of the novel. Keiko states several times that she will avenge Otoko for Oki's abandonment, and the story coalesces into a climactic ending....

Title : Beauty and Sadness
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ISBN : 9780679761051
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 206 Pages
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Beauty and Sadness Reviews

  • Dolors
    2019-03-05 17:17

    “A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us.” Frank Kafka.Beauty and Sadness is much more than a mere contrivance to attract potential readers, this magic narration, shrouded in magnificent contradiction, has the power to shock right from the beginning with the indwelling lyricism emanating from its title.Beauty and Sadness. Opposing concepts fused and confused in a blur of balmy ocher and passionate red, in the inevitable passage of time and the timelessness of the frozen moment, in the unconditional love and the implacable revenge, in the required brushstroke of fiction to capture a perpetual reality in a canvas. This is not a journey for everyone, only for those who willfully choose the forking path of love, for those who struggle against treacherous jealousy with an obstinacy that does not yield to continuum disillusionment, for those who can find in themselves enough insight to bask in that strange scent of mixed roses and cinder, for those daring enough to dance to the rhythm of the beat and the beating heart of the beauty and sadness.Otoko and Oki’s affair, whose love set fire to their existence and changed not only their lives but also the ones of the yet unborn, becomes the center of the story. Theirs was a brief but intense relationship, Otoko was only fifteen, Oki was a married man in his mid thirties with a newborn son. When Otoko’s illicit baby dies in childbirth and Oki abandons her, she tries to commit suicide but Oki’s brief return brings her back to life. Twenty years pass and Oki has become a celebrity thanks to his most famous novel based on his affair with Otoko, a book that immortalized their love forever, a moving work of art that made of Otoko an eternal young girl of fifteen.Otoko has arisen as a battered survivor. She is now a recognized painter in the Japanese tradition who has finally found peace in the company of her female pupil and whimsical lover Keiko. But Otoko’s love for Oki has never run dry. A fateful encounter between Otoko and Oki reopens unhealed wounds from the past and triggers a chain of events which none of them could have ever predicted, blurring the thin line between love and hate, compassion and revenge.How do we chop through the frozen sea of others? How can we prevent the past coming forward, how can we avoid the past reviving again and meeting us in its complete strangeness?A building sense of doom contracts and expands fluidly attuned to the poetic melancholy of the Japanese landscapes, where ancient temples, traditional ceremonies and snow covered and eerie mounts serve as a nest for the development of this classic tragedy of memorable love, loss, madness and revenge wrapped up in the stillness and delicate contemplation that such profound feelings require. Lyric passages about the anthem of human connectedness and their mismatched selves are brought up to life with Kawabata’s careful choice of words.Beauty and Sadness is one of those rare but not impossible love stories which can’t be erased like one does with discarded tea leaves at the bottom of a cup or like a forgotten picture buried deep at the back of a neglected drawer. This is a hymn to beauty which will remain embedded in the most recondite part of any sensitive, pulsating soul. The essence of existence becomes a feeble and restrained throb accompanying those who allow themselves to be dragged by the flowing stream of this perturbing story.In an exotic Japan, where tradition and the disturbing presence of unfulfilled desire, meditation and yearning, colorful art and greyish death are inexorably melted, the tearing loss and the stand-still moment will reincarnate into scarred flesh, invoking cold Beauty and piercing Sadness as a chant for passionate love, regardless of the powerful inner currents which presage the insurmountable tragedy.Someone, somewhere once asked: "Is love worth it"? I would answer that yes, it is.

  • Glenn Sumi
    2019-02-22 14:21

    This quiet, haunting novel puts an intriguing twist on the love triangle narrative.Oki Toshio is a well-known middle-aged writer. When he was in his early 30s, he had an affair with an innocent teenager, Otoko, got her pregnant (he was married at the time) and essentially ruined her life. He then dealt with the experience in a novel, which remains his most popular work. Now he’s curious about seeing Otoko again. She’s a famous yet reclusive artist, still beautiful, and living in Kyoto with her young female lover and protégé, Keiko. Keiko, it turns out, wants to avenge Otoko’s humiliation by getting back at Oki.What’s fascinating isn’t the slightly melodramatic plot – no surprise it was adapted twice for film – but the gentle way Kawabata unfolds the plot and character histories, like petals gradually opening on a flower.You’re never really sure who’s still in love with whom, and who’s jealous of whom. But that’s okay. The characters seem typically Japanese, polite on the outside and often filled with unspoken yearnings and passions on the inside. (The exception is Oki’s wife, who has put up with a lot and now speaks her mind.)This is a short novel, but the prose needs to be savoured slowly. It's very sensual, at times erotic without being sexual, if that makes sense. Pay particular attention to the sights and sounds. The book begins with the arrival of a new year and Oki wanting to hear the ringing of the temple bells. There’s a vivid sense of place, particularly in the country sections.One atmospheric scene is set at a rock garden, and another features the lovely imagining of what life was like in an area centuries earlier. These details all feel authentic in a book that has three artists at its centre. Needless to say, the book delivers on the promise of that title. There’s lots of beauty, plenty of sadness. This was the first novel I’ve read by Nobel laureate Kawabata, but it won’t be the last.

  • Gaurav
    2019-02-21 13:29

    Does a novel have to be pretty? Can’t a novel give account of sadness?Could a novelist be like a painter or sculptor?I suppose even a woman's hatred is a kind of loveWhat does it take to be a great author? Does one have to condense complex ideas to form out prose which is high on acumen and demanding? Could an author write so effortlessly as if he is making no attempt at all, as water falls down a hill; and yet, he could strike you so profoundly that your heart weeps out. You may find it amusing until you come across one of the best manifestations of art in flesh and bone, who we, now, know as Kawabata, for he writes with unaffected simplicity. Human relationships have always been complex, one which are infused with intricate emotions- easy to display but not so to decipher; and there are only a few mortal beings who have been able to express the human emotions with authority which is quintessential to an artist of highest grade; of course, Yasunari Kawabataseemed to possess all the ingredients which makes him the artist of avant grade. Love, is certainly one of those exhibitions of human emotion which has a tinge of pain warped inside comfort of adulation; and love is eccentric, profound but despite that it gives you pleasure of immense scale, however only to reveal the underlying sadness. Through our craving for beauty, we long for love, only to lose it however, through our experience, we come to understand that it is sadness which is permanent. As the time passes, whatever we seem to consider beauty, may become sadness. And, we feel that love is so abstract an emotion that mortal nature of our universe does seem to elude it and yet it needs manifestation of some mortal being, for us to feel it.Beauty and sadness, two seemingly contradictory abstractions are amalgamated into something which, though seem condense, however may shred into different manifestations- attraction, rage or jealousy- when compressed. Yet, it takes an artist of the stature of Kawabata, who does it with an understated precision of a surgeon, to paint an imagery where both abstractions may rest, simultaneously, but only delicately, as if not to disturb the subtle mélange on the tarpaulin of our consciousness. And those who are strong enough, who can disturb this delicate spiritual balance, who can face the wrath of human sensations, are welcome here to the world ofBeauty and sadness.Unlike the painter or sculptor of a realistic portrait, he was able to enter his model’s thoughts and feelings, to change her appearance as he pleased, to invent and to idealize out of his own imagination We are thrown into the world of revolving chairs wherein Oki Toshio, a successful author, makes a journey to hear the New Year’s bells in Kyoto. Loneliness encapsulates him even on this ritual journey, as moving chairs reminds him of the emptiness of life. The sojourn brings up the penetrating memories from the dark recess of his past. His former mistress, Otoko Ueno, who was only 15 when Oki seduced her, lives in Kyoto. The beauty of crimson rails reminds him about underlying sadness of life, about the time spent with Otoko. As we say beauty generally brings sadness underlying beneath it. He could not escape the pain of having spoiled her life, possibly of having robbed her of every chance for happiness. The forbidden, passionate affair had resulted in a stillborn child followed by Otoko’s suicide attempt. Otoko still loved Oki, her baby, and her mother, but could these loves have gone unchanged from the time when they were a tangible reality to her ?Could not something of these very loves have been subtly transformed into self- love? Of course she would not be aware of it. A deep remorse struck Oki, for he maintains that Otoko's life has been ruined by him since she did not married. One must die early if one’s youth immortalized. Time has swung its pendulum unaffected of any one’s lives, as it has been doing since eternity (or is it just an illusion? As even philosophers do not have any satisfactory answer for time), and Otoko attained stature of a cursed celebrity, due to the most popular novel by Oki. Beauty of the novel heightened to the point that it lost any sense of moral questioning. On the other hand, Otoko- the cursed celebrity- has turned out to be a successful painter who lives with her pupil and quaint lover, Keiko. Time passed. But time flows in many streams. Like a river, an inner stream of time will flow rapidly at some places and sluggishly at others, or perhaps even stand hopelessly stagnant. Cosmic time is the same for everyone, but human time differs with each person. Time flows in the same way for all human beings; every human being flows through time in a different way.The peace in life of Otoko and Keiko is disturbed by advent of Oki, as the deep ridden love of Otoko surges up from the abyss of her consciousness. Her awareness of her body was inseparable from her memory of his embrace. The tragic event sets tone of the book and sadness takes breath from the graveyard of beauty. Several unhealed wounds from the past open up, brazenly and hurt all three of them through emotions underlying beneath the veneer of beauty, love and we see the haunting world of hate, jealously, revenge surges up.Sometimes it reminded her of that faint murderous impulse that had fitted through her mind. If she had killed Keiko, she herself would not have gone on living. Later that impulse seemed like a vaguely familiar wraith. Was that another time when she missed a chance to dieThe prose of novel, as usual, is quite picturesque, one could actually feel the stillness of hills as if you are sitting right across Oki-the narrator, you immerse yourself in the peaceful silence of mountains infused with soothing songs of birds, when sound of wooden logs interrupts your meditation as if the calmness of universe is disturbed by some cosmic event. The characteristic, which makes it unique among novels by the author, is that characters are given ample space here to be developed fully unlike other books which are essentially psychological interior monologues. Kawabata omits details of some of the seemingly important events, it makes the impact all the more powerful, since we can only imagine what went on. It represents a classic example illustrating how great storytelling resides not only in what is shown, but in what a writer chooses to omit, we generally say, beauty lies underneath. She could not say why these rather inconspicuous green slopes had so touched her heart, when along the railway line there were mountains, lakes, the sea at times even clouds dyed in sentimental colors. But perhaps their melancholy green, and the melancholy evening shadows of the ridges across them, had brought on the pain. Then too, they were small, well-groomed slopes with deeply shaded ridges, not nature in the wild; and the rows of rounded tea bushes looked like flocks of gentle green sheep.Kawabata painstakingly peels off layers of time to unfurl the spiraling resonations of the past, as the ardent jealously and desire for tragic revenge took over Keiko. The prose of Kawabata shows several moments of artistic grace interspersed with violent human emotions, to their extremes, which may be disturbing at times though. The nature and thrust of own artistic sensibility of the author, in short, is the ultimate subject, and everything argued and judged, confessed and regretted. Perhaps because of Kawabata's lightness of touch, Beauty and Sadness may appear on casual reading to be rather slight. Yet it is perhaps the most elegantly constructed of Kawabata's novels. Like all of his works, it needs to be relished by the reader slowly, more like poetry than prose: associations must be given time to form, small details must be carefully absorbed. 4.5.5

  • B0nnie
    2019-02-25 17:28

    Beauty and Sadnessis an understated, delicate story. It begins with the sad memories of Oki Toshio, an eminent writer - and then, gradually but fiercely, reveals how those long ago events have done damage to the lives of many. All is revealed in an uncomplicated style, and without overt judgement from the author. He lets the story speak for itself. Oki longs for a meeting with Ueno Otoko (now famous too, an artist) the woman whose youth he ruined, and to whom the past echoes with obligations left undone. She has a young acolyte and lover, Sakami Keiko, who devises a devious revenge: the result is biblical.Otoko is a painter in the classical Japanese tradition, a style that is beautiful, simple and yet sophisticated. Kawabata paints this story with the same sparse brush. There is just enough information to convey exactly what is meant, and yet there is much blank space for the reader to fill in with their own thoughts.The selfishness of Oki is shocking. He had behaved horribly, and then he writes a book about it,It was the tragic love story of a very young girl and a man himself still young but with a wife and child: only the beauty of it had been heightened, to the point that it was unmarred by any moral questioning.And there's Fumiko, Oki's wife, who wanted his love, to be in this book, shares the guilt, “Because you can’t write about someone you don’t love, someone you don’t even hate? All the time I’m typing I keep wondering why I didn’t let you go.”“You’re talking nonsense again.”“I’m serious. Holding on to you was a crime. I’ll probably regret it the rest of my life.”The book makes him famous, but it seems as though it is a book better left unwritten. Or is it? The book is deeply loved, does makes Oki famous. This implicates his readers in the sin, by enjoying its fruits. And - novels within novels! it turns around and accuses us too.Keiko, sweet avenging angel. She acts on Otoko's behalf. Everyone in this story seems to want to contain the past, holding it as a perfect item of sorrow, or beauty. Keiko shatters that precious notion and all is completed.There are many lyrical descriptions inBeauty and Sadness, and if it were a painting, its dominant tone would be green. It is more yamato-e than impressionist, but there's that too. If there is such a thing as the Japanese mind, it is glimpsed at here in Kawabata's words.

  • Ahmad Sharabiani
    2019-03-16 13:26

    Utsukushisa to kanashimi to = Beauty and Sadness, Yasunari KawabataBeauty and Sadness (Japanese: Utsukushisa to kanashimi to) is a 1964 novel by Japanese author Yasunari Kawabata. My own copy of this book: Published January 30th 1996 by Vintage, Paperback, 206 pagesتاریخ نخستین خوانش: بیست و چهارم ماه سپتامبر سال 2016 میلادیعنوان: زیبایی و افسردگی؛ نویسنده: یاسوناری کاواباتا؛ یاسوناری کاواباتا (1899 - 1972 میلادی) نخستین ژاپنی برنده جایزه ادبیات نوبل هستند. «رقصنده ایزو»، «دهکده برفی»، «هزار درنا»، «آوای کوهستانی»، «خانه خوبرویان خفته» و ...؛ از آثار این نویسنده ژاپنی ست که به فارسی نیز ترجمه و منتشر شده اند. ا. شربیانی

  • Praj
    2019-03-20 11:24

    The acrylics are laid on a wooden table with monochromatic perfection. A blank canvass waits to be explored. Water droplets glisten as they leave the auburn bristles of the brush. A flurry of horizontal strokes awakens the sordid paleness. A dash of vertical Prussian blue collides with wavy ochre. Vermillion over emerald. Sienna peeping through the cobalt notes. The brushes fall and fingers reign the dyed paper. The fingers run wild, flooding the whiteness like an angry rainbow across the empty sky. The sanctity of the easel lost to the festering colours. The tinted viscosity blurs the didactic depiction normalizing irrationality between the artist and the portrait. Consuming art. Consuming love.Basho writes :-The temple bell stops. But the sound keeps coming out of the flowers.Isn't the consciousness of love like these temple bells? Long after its physicality ends, the essence lingers through budding emotions within the delicate sounds of the past. How is it to experience a love so abstract that death seems a friendly stranger? Ueno Otoko, loving a man who stole her childhood, delineates the purity of an overwhelming emotion –love and not clemency. Otoko lost her baby during a painful childbirth; a tearful goodbye with only the memory of her child’s pristine black hair. Otoko was 16, when she overdosed on sleeping pills after her baby’s death; a bid to escape the encumbering deficient love. As a solitary blossom among the sea of stones, Otoko bloomed amid the darkness of a distorted love perplexed at her long survival. The colours in her portraits were tales of Otoko’s poignant heart ; the brush strokes searched her child’s face."She had no idea of the face and form of her baby, only a vision in her heart. She knew very well that the child in her. Ascension of an Infant would not look like her dead baby, and she had no wish to paint a realistic portrait. What she wanted was to express her sense of loss, her grief and affection for someone she had never seen. She had cherished that desire so long that the image of the dead infant had become a symbol of yearning to her. She thought of it whenever she felt sad. Also the picture was to symbolize herself surviving all these years, as well as the beauty and sadness of her love for Oki."In a Girl of Sixteen, Oki immortalized the woman he considered his only passionate love. A woman who at a tender age of 15 lost her virginity to a much married man in his 30s. Kawabata delineates Oki as a man lost in egocentric love; even though ridden by guilt of blemishing Otoko’s youth, Oki pursued the forbidden tenderness as though the inherent madness of it all kept him alive."It was the tragic love story of a very young girl and a man himself still young but with a wife and child: only the beauty of it had been heightened, to the point that it was unmarred by any moral questioning."The stillness of his memories kept Otoko alive through his writings and the ringing of New Year’s bells in Kyoto with each passing year."What were memories? What was the past that he remembered so clearly?..............he could not escape the pain of having spoiled her life, possible of having robbed her of every chance for happiness.......the vividness of the memories mean that she was separated separated from him...."From flaunting his affairs to Fumiko to consciously leaving his wife out of the memoirs for an untainted tale of intricate passionate love and earning his generous royalties from the book; Oki is an outright amoral man. Kawabata gives a picture of a reckless man imparting ugliness through beautiful sentiments. In the autumn of his life how could he hope for forgiveness from a woman who lived his aberrant repercussions?Keiko on the other hand is a misguided passionate lover. One could say her love for Otoko was mere teenage infatuation, but her determination in seeking revenge from Oki throws a different light on Keiko’s commitment to Otoko. Kawabata underplays homosexuality limiting Keiko’s relationship with her teacher (Otoko) only to the idea of revenge. It may be due to Otoko resisting of letting go her past ghosts spinning a web of jealousy for Keiko. Or Kawabata hesitated in exploring a lesbian love due to cultural restraints."Otoko still loved Oki, her baby, and her mother, but could these loves have gone unchanged from the time when they were a tangible reality to her? Could not something of these very loves have been subtly transformed into self-love?Of course she would not be aware of it. She had been parted from her baby and her mother by death, and from Oki by a final separation, and these three still lived within her. Yet Otoko alone gave them this life. Her image of Oki flowed along with her through time, and perhaps her memories of their love affair had been dyed by the color of her love for herself, had even been transformed. It had never occurred to her that bygone memories are merely phantoms and apparitions. Perhaps it was to be expected that a woman who had lived alone for two decades without love or marriage should indulge herself in memories of a sad love, and that her indulgence should take on the color of self-love."Keiko- Otoko’s protégée and a jealous lover avenged Otoko’s melancholy through the malicious play of her physical splendor consuming Taichiro in her seduction. Fumiko whose love was loyal and simple towards Oki, yet appallingly as she prospered in Otoko’s printed exhibition. Otoko who still loved Oki, her mother and her baby and never let go of her 16 yr old from her soul, the very reason of her being hesitant in sketching Keiko somehow seem to be her teenage apparition. And, Oki who could never distinguish nostalgic remorse from factual remorse. Akin to the moss covered roof at the restaurant that never had the chance to dry out because being weighed down by the huge tree, all of Kawabata’s characters were stuck in time buried under the obscurity of memories and prejudices"Time passed. But time flows in many streams. Like a river, an inner stream of time will flow rapidly at some place and sluggishly at others or perhaps even strand hopelessly stagnant. Cosmic time is the same for everyone, but human time differs with each person. Time flows in the same was for all human beings, every human being flows through time in a different way."Issa writes:-Cherry blossoms in evening. Ah well, today also belongs to the past.Love is narcissistic, deviant, vengeful, powerful and yet somehow beautiful. It breathes life into one’s solitude only to revel in the silence of emptiness,. Happiness is transient and it is in sadness that tranquil loveliness bloom like a white lotus on fire. Beauty encompasses sadness through a spate of sorrows and death; the fleeting exquisiteness of cherry blossom that eventually meets the earthly grave.

  • Aubrey
    2019-03-04 09:09

    If we rid ourselves of every cultural artifact that blended love and hate together in equal measure, we would be be left with very little that is worth remembering. Love without hate is optimistic and hate without love is depressing but to have both! That is an accurate portrayal of ourselves, and after countless millennia we still crave the tales that delve unflinchingly into that bright and terrible line between the two. But is it really a line? What causes one to cross it, and for how long? And do we really travel from one realm to another, the euphoric uplift and the bitter agony, via clean and complete transitions? Is it all that simple? By those rules, this book should have never existed, one detailing the relationship between a young girl and a man twice her age. The repercussions stretch on for more than twenty years, as the man and his family live off the fruit of that story of illicit love, and the girl grows into a woman who wins the love of a girl hellbent on revenge for these past wrongs. And through the man's dangerously blind romanticism, and the woman's traumatized solitude, they still believe in their love for each other. Blindness and trauma. The poison is bubbling to the surface everywhere the characters look, and yet they carry on as if there is nothing to be worried about. The man sees only his reflection in the women around him, and the girl twists this image into a hook to drag him down. The woman unconsciously builds a shrine to the pain and sorrow of the past, and the son ignores the warning signs at every turn. And for what. Love? The love in this story is a wound, easily made and nigh impossible to heal, and the pleasure of it writhes in bed with the agony. Is it really worth it?Look around you. I'd say the world thinks so.

  • سلطان
    2019-02-23 16:09

    كاواباتا كاتب من طراز مختلف، هذه الرواية تغوص في عمق النفس البشرية بشكل عجيب، وتحديداً في شخصية الكاتب "أوكي"، اهتمام كاواباتا بشكل خاص، والأدب الياباني بشكل عام بأدق تفاصيل المشاعر البشرية، وكذلك أدق تفاصيل الطبيعة، يجعل من أعمالهم حالة خاصة في عالم الكتابة.بداية تعاطفت مع بطلة الرواية، ثم تعاطفت مع بطلها أوكي، وتوقفت كثيراً وأنا أقرأ هذا العمل، للتفكير في مدى حكمنا على الأشخاص بالخير أو الشر من خلال القرارات التي يتخذونها في حياتهم تجاه غيرهم.أنصح بقراءة هذه الرواية، وقد يكون لهذا النصح ظلال عاطفية، ألقى بها حبي الأدب الياباني بشكل عام، وما كتبه كاواباتا بشكل خاص.

  • Cristina
    2019-02-25 09:37

    Definitivamente Kawabata atrapa. El segundo libro que leo de este autor y me ha gustado más que el primero, País de Nieve. Kawabata es pura prosa poética. Te envuelve y te embriaga de tal forma que no puedes dejarlo hasta que has terminado. Precisión perfecta en el uso del lenguaje y dominio exquisito del ritmo de la narración. Maestro en el arte de sugerir, Kawabata juega con la imaginación del lector para que sea ésta la que complete los vacíos que va dejando.Lo bello y lo triste es un análisis impecable del lado irracional que habita en cada uno de nosotros. El deseo, los celos y la venganza son algunas de las emociones que aparecen en la novela que sin ningún control conducen a la destrucción. El argumento es el siguiente: Oki regresa a Kioto para visitar a una antigua amante, Otoko, con la que mantuvo una fugaz pero intensa historia de amor que dejó huella en ambos de tal forma que ella no ha podido volver a mantener ninguna relación con un hombre y él, aunque casado, vuelca toda la historia en una novela para adolescentes que consigue tener éxito. Otoko convive ahora con una joven, discípula suya, que por amor se vengará del daño que en su momento Oki inflingió a Otoko, seduciendo a Oki y a su hijo. Si se toma la historia literalmente, se concluye que la visión que el autor tiene de las relaciones es enfermiza y destructiva situando el origen de todos los males en la figura de la mujer ante la belleza de la cual el hombre, ser débil, no puede sino caer rendido. Podría calificarse a Kawabata de misógino por el retrato que hace del personaje de Keiko como un ser terriblemente malvado y maquiavélico que seduce por puro placer vengativo, misoginia que incluso se proyecta en la esposa de Oki, que prefiere culpar de su desdicha, no a su marido, como cabría esperar, sino a Otoko y Keiko y lucha por mantener alejado a su hijo de ambas mujeres cuando vuelven a aparecer. Ahora bien, lo que el autor pretende, si se va más allá, es que la historia en sí funcione como alegoría que le sirva para poner sobre el papel la complejidad y el poder de las emociones humanas, sin descuidarse de reflexionar a la vez sobre ellas, que pueden llegar a conducir al delirio y a la locura. Algunos fragmentos ilustrativos podrían ser los siguientes:“En los tiempos en que se reunía con ella en secreto, Otoko la sorprendió una vez al decirle:- Tú eres de los que se preocupan por el qué dirán, ¿no? Deberías ser más audaz.- Me parece que soy bastante desvergonzado. ¿Qué me dices de esta situación?- No. No hablo de nosotros- dijo ella e hizo una pausa-. Me refiero a todo… Deberías ser tú mismo.Al no encontrar respuesta, Oki había reflexionado sobre sí mismo. Mucho tiempo después, las palabras de Otoko continuaban grabadas en su mente. Sentía que aquella muchacha veía con extrema claridad su carácter y su vida, porque lo amaba. En adelante había seguido su propia voluntad con harta frecuencia, y cada vez que comenzaba a preocuparse por la opinión de los demás recordaba las palabras de Otoko. Recordaba el momento en que las había pronunciado.”“Mucho tiempo después de separarse de él, le molestó leer en Una chica de dieciséis que cuando Oki iba a encontrarse con ella planificaba cómo le haría el amor en esa oportunidad y generalmente lo conseguía. Le parecía espantoso que el corazón de un hombre “palpitara lleno de gozo mientras caminaba pensando en eso”. Para una joven espontánea como Otoko era inconcebible que un hombre planeara de antemano sus técnicas eróticas, la secuencia de éstas y cosas por el estilo. Ella aceptaba todo lo que él hacía, le brindaba todo lo que él pedía. Oki la había descrito como una criatura extraordinaria, como mujer entre las mujeres. Gracias a ella –así escribía-él había experimentado todas las formas de hacer el amor.”“Oki comió temprano; alrededor de las cuatro y media. En las cajas encontró una variedad de comidas de Año Nuevo, entre las que figuraban unas bolitas de arroz de forma perfecta. Parecían expresar las emociones de una mujer. Sin duda la propia Otoko las había preparado para el hombre que, mucho tiempo atrás, había destruido su tierna juventud. Al masticar aquellos bocaditos de arroz, sintió el perdón de la mujer en su lengua y sus dientes. No, no era perdón, sino amor. Estaba seguro que era amor, un amor que aún ardía en lo más hondo de su ser. Todo lo que él sabía de la vida de Otoko en Kioto era que ella se había abierto camino como pintora sin ninguna ayuda. Quizá hubo en su vida otros amores, otras historias sentimentales, pero ella aún sentía por él el desesperado amor de la adolescencia. Él, por su parte, había tenido relaciones con otras mujeres, pero nunca había vuelto a amar con la misma intensidad.”Igual que las bolitas de arroz que aparecen en el fragmento anterior, todo en Kawabata deviene símbolo: el inicio del libro es prácticamente calcado a País de Nieve. El tren que lleva al protagonista de Tokio (ciudad que representaría la realidad y la vida cotidiana) hacia Kioto (como sinónimo de ese lugar idílico de nuestra imaginación, donde no hay límites para la admiración de la belleza y la búsqueda insaciable del placer.) El tren simboliza el escape de la realidad, el viaje que se emprende hacia lo irracional. También las bellísimas descripciones, delicadas y exquisitas de los paisajes que funcionan como vivo reflejo de las emociones de los personajes a la vez que nos sumergen en el mundo japonés, como si el lector se encontrara en medio del cuadro que el autor dibuja. Destacable también es el uso de la evocación del recuerdo como una constante en Kawabata siempre teñido de un tono melancólico que empapa todo el relato y que llega ser doliente. Particularmente bellos son Campanas del templo y El lago (capítulos que inician y cierran la novela, respectivamente.) Y el simbolismo adquiere su máxima manifestación en el personaje de Keiko mismo, personificación, a mi parecer, del amor adolescente, apasionado y loco, encarnado en una joven de veinte años, turbadoramente bella, que no dudará en seducir a los dos personajes masculinos que caerán rendidos a sus pies, sólo por amor a Otoko. Parece que al autor entiende que el amor desenfrenado sólo pueda darse en la juventud: “Otoko recordó ahora las palabras de su madre. Se preguntó si era su juventud e inocencia lo que había dado tanta intensidad a ese amor. Quizá eso explicara su pasión ciega e insaciable.” “En una palabra, había volcado todo su amor fresco y juvenil en aquel libro. Probablemente ésa fuera la razón de su éxito. Era la trágica historia de amor de una muchacha joven y de un joven aún, pero casado y con un hijo. La belleza de aquella historia había sido acentuada hasta el punto de escapar cualquier cuestionamiento moral.”Efectivamente la joven Keiko está perdidamente enamorada de Otoko; Otoko y Oki, por su parte, estuvieron ciegamente enamorados en su juventud y Taichiro, el hijo de Oki, es seducido por Keiko enamorándose locamente de ella, a diferencia de su padre, quien, si bien también acaba cediendo a sus encantos, mantiene con Keiko un encuentro puramente sexual “una vez más la besó largamente. Cuando quedó sin aliento la levantó en vilo y la depositó sobre la cama. Ella se ovilló. No ofreció resistencia, pero a Oki le resultó difícil que distendiera las piernas. No tardó en comprobar que no era virgen. Comenzó a embestirla con más dureza.” Y tanta pasión ¿hacia dónde lleva? A la destrucción. Entonces podemos preguntarnos, ¿por qué el ser humano ansía vivir un amor así si sólo acaba saliendo dañado? ¿Es que la naturaleza humana es, de algún modo, masoquista? En definitiva, ¿es el Amor malvado?Parece que Kawabata nos advierta de que el final feliz no es posible sintetizando magníficamente la esencia de lo que resultan ser, no sólo las emociones humanas llevadas al extremo, sino la vida misma, en el título del libro: lo bello y lo triste. Simplemente genial.

  • Mariel
    2019-03-05 13:15

    This is gonna get hypothetical because there are film versions of Beauty and Sadness: Tristesse et beauté and Utsukushisa to kanashimi. Somehow I haven't seen either one of these, not even when mass viewing Charlotte Rampling films in the early '00s; nor when bingeing on Japanese cinema, also in the early '00s. I'll rectify this in the future! My movie watching has dropped off significantly in the last three years. Maybe it's how I take on foriegn feelings as if they could be related to me. I've been leaning towards (photosenthesis style! I'm a vegetable and in my coma I'm living all these other lives!) less repeating back how people (well, actors) say things to get what they mean (in case of missed subtexts) and more I'M the actor and it (the books) are all big movies in my head. So I think (despite that there are films of this! Hypothetical 'cause these movies may not do any of the things I'm about to suggest) that maybe I would have felt less studio egos pushing in how they say it went down and more home movie if this had been a movie with actors for me to attach myself to emotionally. I know, I'm contradicting what I said about why I might've turned more to books these days. But damn, some of the major players in Beauty and Sadness were TOO idealized and I got impatient and wish they'd stop insisting it was all so fucking pure. If it were a movie I could have watched someone and thought, "Wow, she looks really sad. I feel really bad for her." I couldn't put on a pedestal the long ago love affair between middle aged Oki (married with a baby) and fifteen year old (at the start. sixteen at its end in the physical world) Okoto. Oki immortalizes their young love (they love as teenagers do. As only teenagers do? I don't know if I believe that. More on that later!) in a popular novel. Both feel forever young by its everlasting (at least in the twenty years they've been apart) popularity. I didn't see what the big deal was about Oki. He's just a middle aged guy who feels he lost something that had ended. Where was the backbone? The weakened knees and hearts of fire (weakened hearts of fire. Dying lights...)? Oki was really just the bland old man. He wouldn't catch my eye, I'm pretty certain. I don't know if I believed it was ever as great as either one of them imagines it to be. Okoto is a painter. Yeah, self obsessed artist types. It must've been great to see each other reflected back in each other's eyes? So the teenager thing I said I would get to later. If it's the first time it can't feel comparable to other things, sure. Oki maybe wanted to feel young by being with the teenaged girl. I didn't get the sense that either one of them wanted to still be together, as older people. Okoto was not tied to any one else (her mother is totally different thing altogether), free to force herself, not carefree but destructively free, into these highly romanticized interludes. Oki would love having a new life than his old one. What else did he have to lose? Teenagers do seem to have that free of the future airs. I'm not arguing my case at all, am I? Oki wasn't a teenager. So there! Okoto loses their baby when she is sixteen. She tries to kill herself. Her mother puts her in an institution for a while (the right thing to do) and then they move to Kyoto to get away from Oki's memory. Oki never comes for her. He writes a novel about it. Okoto paints pictures of the unborn baby. She's a lot of whatifs and idealizations that I couldn't see in my mind... Where are the eyes for ME to see reflections in? Descriptions of paintings and novels were not doing it for me. After years of being all alone, Okoto makes a name for herself as an artist (I tried to find online the trick photograph of the geisha that may or may not be two geisha that inspires her painting. No luck). Troubled (namelessly so) Keiko is her student and lover. Keiko is Kawabata's loved extraordinarily beautiful young woman. An actress portraying her in a movie would have much to work with as far as changeability goes (but towards what?Teenaged love? I don't know if I believe in it). However, too much wouldn't be a good thing. I wish so much that Keiko had taken shape more apart from the memories of the adults. She claims to want revenge, she says she's jealous a whole lot. If I could have seen it instead of having it described to me. I'm not some blind dude on a date with a woman describing sunsets to him. I can see! I know I can. It was kinda interesting how Fumiko, Oki's jealous wife, receded into the background of her own life after the novel was published. Oki is such a cold bastard he has her type his manuscript of his affair with the teenager for him! She miscarries, apparently because of this trauma. After the public receives the novel with love and affection (she herself is hardly a spot in the corner of its eye), she sort of accepts what happened because it was written about. What the fuck is with these people going over what happened until it becomes some unshakeable myth? Couldn't someone have done something? Fumiko could have left her husband. Oki could have left his wife. Okoto could have gone to a real hospital in the first place so she wouldn't lose her baby just because her married lover was ashamed of her. Mom could've left her crazy daughter in the hospital. They do all this shit because they believed too much in that damned teenaged feeling. Oh yeah, I was saying that I liked how the wife playing into that flicked the switch more on what they were doing than any of that navel gazing or nutty revenge schemes ever did. Oh yeah, I wanted to say that it wasn't pure because it was first and stopped all else in its tracks. That pretty much makes it impure. What good is it then? It's blockage like a hard to pass turd. I guess total immersion in books isn't good when there are wrong things like teenagers I want to ignore. Let's go to the movies.

  • Nina Rapsodia
    2019-03-16 13:32

    Escribir sobre literatura japonesa siempre me ha parecido un reto. A pesar de que es mi tercer libro del autor, de alguna manera siento que escribir sobre historias japonesas me queda grande, porque nunca podré explicar realmente la experiencia de acercarse a esta maravillosa cultura y menos llegar a comprenderla en su totalidad. Pero bueno, no se debe dejar de intentarlo así que voy de nuevo.Oki Toshio es un escritor ya entrado en los cincuenta años y un día decide viajar a Kyoto a pasar la velada de Año Nuevo escuchando las campanas que anuncian el nuevo año. Pero además de esto, hay otro motivo. Oki desea reencontrarse con la pintora Otoko Ueno, una mujer con la que tuvo una relación amorosa cuando ella tenía dieciséis años y que no ha vuelto a ver desde entonces. Preso del recuerdo, Oki desea volver a verla, a pesar de que es casado y tiene dos hijos. Pero el reencuentro de Oki y Otoko se ve perturbado por la impulsiva y bella Keiko Sakami, alumna de pintura de Otoko y quien siente por su maestra un afecto que raya con la obsesión. Reseña completa:

  • Gorkem Y
    2019-03-06 17:28

    A Classical Kawabata's TaleWriting a comment for such a masterpiece is one of the hardest moments that I've ever had. From beginning to the end, Mr. Kawabata reveals an incredible environment among individuals and pushes reader to contemplate to what extend obscurity and complexity can endure among people.The layers of novel psychologically sets very intense themes such as love, revenge, acceptance by society and manipulation with Mr.Kawabata's artistic intelligence.I really feel that before writing a detailed comment, this book needs to rest in my thoughts. All in all, this is a great book which compares cultural issues and puts very uncomfortable reflection and reading experience for western reader.10/9

  • Revel Atkinson
    2019-03-17 16:18

    I sometimes wonder how I manage to avoid living under a blanket of sadness myself. Is the past not fuller than the future? Does it pose more of a threat to loneliness or is it the cause? It’s not permanent—I’m not willing to subject myself to that quite yet—but I live mostly alone in the desert, a temporary hermit at twenty-three. I read Beauty and Sadness recently, and found myself constantly jumping between Kawabata’s story and my own. Oki, who is roughly thirty years older than I, and Otoko, who is thirty-six, appear to understand love from a brief episode in their pasts, when he was thirty and she was only sixteen, and they both were in love with each other; this moment cannot be replicated and proves irreplaceable in the course of the novel. A truth that Oki’s wife and Otoko’s lover simply have to accept. It was the time when Oki and Otoko were together, young and perhaps innocent in their way that the sensation of love was most brilliant. It is from this relatively short time together—when they experienced their purest sense of passion—that all other love is measured, that love is even understood. Keiko, the young, beautiful protégé and lover of Otoko, is frustrated because she can be nothing more than a reminder for Otoko of the love she shared with Oki. She wants to be more… Even Otoko and Keiko’s physical relationship, though both are female, seems to mimic or echo this past affair. While Oki and Otoko went their separate ways, their sense of love is perfectly preserved in the past. In time is has neither faltered nor faded, and Oki’s novel, A Girl of Sixteen, has even worked to idealize their time together. Keiko makes an effort to “take revenge” on Oki for Otoko, who claims not to be resentful and regrets nothing that happened. Regardless, Otoko’s love for Oki has certainly rearranged her live, disappointed her mother and holds her in a state of longing for the past. The same can be said of Oki, who has become a famous writer from Otoko’s story, has a difficult home life with his jealous wife and is also incapable of moving on, seemingly because there is nothing to move on to: nothing better, nothing worse. There is no choice at all, no choosing to be done.

  • umberto
    2019-02-24 09:34

    Second Review: 3.75 starsSome weeks ago I came across a review mentioning this novel by Kawabata so I decided to read it to recapture what, I think, I had missed from the first reading. While reading the following nine chapters: Temple Bells, Early Spring, The Festival of the Full Moon, A Rainy Sky, A Stone Garden, The Lotus in the Flames, Strands of Black Hair, Summer Losses, and The Lake, I thought it would deserve a 4-star rating but I changed my mind at the last chapter so the rating minus .25 due to Keiko's revenge as a protegee for her mentor Otoko (who had an affair with an unmarried 30-year-old Oki when she was 15), which has gone too far when Taichiro, Oki's son, is fatefully killed in a boat accident. Noted as a young sorceress (p. 108), she complacently ensnares by means of her charm and beauty first old Oki, then young Taichiro and manipulate them as cunningly planned. My point is that her revenge should include only Oki himself. Interestingly, Kawabata's style and plot are something so wonderful, unique and superb that, I think, few other Japanese authors can surpass him. It is truly a marvel to read.Compared to his other novels, "Beauty and Sadness" has obviously and bravely been written to reveal his in-depth literary stature as one of the great novelists since he was awarded the prestigious Nobel Prize in literature in 1968. I also wondered what the title meant and how 'Beauty' and 'Sadness' related; indeed, I by chance found them mentioned in a line as part of Keiko and Oki's following dialogs:"Your ears are lovely," he said, "but there's a kind of eerie beauty to your profile.""I'm glad you think so!" Her slender neck flushed slightly. "I'll never forgot that, as long as I live. But how long will beauty last? A woman feels sad to think of that."He had no reply. (p. 77)So that is the inception of the whole story. Consequently, all things experienced and done by means of nostalgic and sentimental love of all key characters involved as if dictated by fate and karma; therefore, such beauty does not necessarily imply bliss, happiness or success, rather it definitely could end up with sadness as we can read from this novel and see in the daily life. One of Kawabata's styles, I noticed, is that he sometimes employs quietude amid ensuing dialogs as if to subdue such ongoing movement as we can see and sense from these excerpts:"Is that what's on your mind?" Keiko nodded. "Why must you worry about that, at your age?""Because I'm not a fool like you, for twenty years loving someone who spoiled your life!"Otogo was silent. (p. 113)"Wouldn't it make you flesh crawl to touch a hairy skin?"Still Otoko did not answer. (p. 123)"Indeed you did!" Otoko was suspicious of her vacant air. "Keiko, where were you last night?"There was no reply. (p. 170)To continue . . .First Review:I enjoyed reading this novel by Kawabata due to, I think, my familiarity with his writing style especially his brief descriptions and lively dialogs as communicated by key characters. Indeed, this fantastic novel should deserve a little more in its five-star scale, that is, 3.5 (but I can rate it as a 3-star there in the meantime) because it's more enjoyable than "Snow Country" or "Thousand Cranes" which are seemingly a bit philosophical. I mean they're all right if you need something to read, reflect and apply.I admired his realistic narrations concerning the romantic relationships between Oki and Otoko, Oki and Keiko, and Taichiro and Keiko. He has his subtle ways in writing them for his readers to appreciate and we can't help wondering how he can do it brilliantly. It's his genius and I'm sure I should enjoy reading it more if I knew Japanese.Everyone's busy working and has no time to read its review from such an unknown amateur GR critic like me, therefore, I'd say something briefly about Keiko, as a protegee having stayed with Otoko till, according to Oki's wife, Fumiko "She was almost frighteningly pretty" (p. 44), who has mischievously decided to take unthinkable revenge in cold blood on Oki, then his son, Taichiro for her mentor Otago as a young sorceress successfully. Interestingly, the name of Oki's lover is Miss Otoko Ueno; her surname reminds me of a place named 'Ueno' during our going sightseeing (to see Mt. Fuji?) one day as part of our one-week trip in Japan in April 2015. Does this name 'Ueno' have its special meaning? I wonder if this 'Ueno' has something special till Kawabata's adopted it as his key female character.Find a copy and enjoy!

  • Tfitoby
    2019-03-05 09:12

    Kawabata's Nobel Prize winning novel of love, sex, and revenge, memory, growing old, and obsession."Her awareness of her body was inseparable from her memory of his embrace."His work is deceptively simple, seemingly all touching on similar subject matter with a similar clean and clear, straight forward style that manage to capture a certain mood of longing in his protagonists and dislocation from their lives yet evocative of time and place and providing deep insight in to their souls.This one wavers between that typical Kawabata style and something of a Hitchcockian drama, drifting from the aching longing of one character to the almost schizophrenic mood swings of another via the damaged memories of a third and it is this conflict of styles and tone and character that disappointed me the most. Kawabata shows his hand too early and too easily making the journey to the inevitable just a little too perfunctory. There's still a lot to enjoy, a lot of wonderfully evocative passages but the inevitable nature of things actually seemed to hide from the reader of some of the beauty and sadness you might otherwise have felt.

  • Steven
    2019-03-03 14:15

    "I'm not afraid of suicide. The worst thing is being sick of life." (53)I decided to expand my reading of Japanese writers beyond the small circle of favorites—particularly Dazai and Mishima—with Kawabata. I ordered three of his works, and settled on Beauty and Sadness as a first encounter—largely, admittedly, due to its intriguing and sublime title. The story centers on a love affair between a fifteen-year-old girl (Otoko) and a married-with-child (Taichiro) thirty-year-old man (Oki). Oki later becomes a writer, immortalizing the love affair in what remains, despite subsequent others, his best-selling novel. Otoko, who becomes pregnant but loses her child, tries but fails to commit suicide, and subsequently is moved by her mother away from Tokyo to Kyoto. She never marries, becomes a painter, and ultimately takes in a woman as protégé and lover (Keiko). The events transpire some twenty years after the love affair, and revolve around that ordeal and how it affected and continues to affect those involved (Otoko and Keiko, Oki and his wife Fumiko, and their son Taichiro). The writing is beautiful—Kawabata has a keen sense for conveying mood, and his style is both precise and wonderfully understated. However, for all the purported depth of the subject matter of Beauty and Sadness, parts of it struck me as a little superficial—as much as I wanted to avoid that feeling. I also cannot say I appreciated each aspect of the story equally; some parts were better than others. Overall, then, the work was slightly uneven, even though it holds enough to be worth reading (the story does stick, and the style really is admirable). I look forward to reading Kawabata's other works.p.s. Otoko's mother is the quiet hero of the story.

  • Anastasia
    2019-03-13 11:35

    A lettura ultimata ho un momento di sbatti-ciglia piuttosto in riga con la mia sensibilità decisamente occidentale che cozza con quella giapponese: si riconfermano gran parte delle sensazioni, perplessità divertita - lo confesso - davanti a certi modi di esprimere i propri sentimenti (mordersi a vicenda quando si vuole infliggere del male al proprio partner per riscattarsi), certi modi di pensare e ancora certe ostinazioni che vanno fuori dai miei codici, principi e abitudini, e proprio perché non è un codice con cui io mi relaziono con la realtà immancabilmente arriva quel momento in cui subentra una sorta di retrogusto in mezzo all'assurdo, in cui subentra la fascinazione che si potrebbe provare davanti ad un curioso alieno che si può osservare da lontano. Motivo per cui alla fine si riconferma sempre interessante leggere di questi strani alieni che aprono le finestre all'uomo dall'altra parte del mondo.Bellezza e tristezza, appunto, non fa una piega, per quanto alla fin dei conti non abbia una trama al di fuori di ogni previsione. Le dinamiche si concentrano su una sorta di pentagono: c'è Oki, scrittore ormai in là con gli anni, che desidera tornare sulle tracce di una sua vecchia fiamma, la pittrice Otoko, con cui intrattenne una relazione tanto tempo prima, e che gli permise di scrivere il suo acclamato capolavoro: La sedicenne, dal momento che sì, Otoko aveva solo sedici anni e lui invece proprio non direi che fosse giovane, una sorta di Lolita-Humbert. Tutto sarebbe rose e fiori se le dinamiche si fermassero qui, ma subentra non solo la moglie di Oki, Fumiko, che subisce l'umiliazione del tradimento copiando il suo manoscritto a macchina; ma anche la generazione successiva con il figlio Taichiro e l'allieva della pittrice, la diciannovenne Keiko.Inutile dire che finiranno per andare in una sorta di calderone dove uno sfiora l'altro attraverso il loro ruolo preciso all'interno della storia, come pedine su una scacchiera. Forse in realtà tutto il motore della vicenda è proprio Keiko, che si pone come interprete di una giustizia talmente intransigente da suonare agghiacciante nella sua logica, e proprio per questo quasi disumana, iperbolica, non adatta ad una persona e una mente che fa i conti con la realtà di sempre, di tutti i giorni. Forse è l'unico personaggio che sembra destinato a rimanere a fine lettura, lei sopra tutti gli altri che non possono far nient'altro che farsi trascinare dalla sua corrente - colpevoli forse di una certa passività - , e se messi a confronto risultano più pallidi, più "normali" di sicuro, meno risaltanti; in fondo sono comuni personaggi appartenenti ad una storia che in fondo è la copia di una copia di una copia se guardiamo le dinamiche e la trama. Curioso, è la seconda volta nel giro di un mese di lettura che mi capita di fare i conti con un personaggio che ha idealizzato completamente ciò che lo circonda, lo ha piegato ai suoi principi e lo ha inevitabilmente travisato. Se c'è una cosa su cui sono sicura è che se incontrassi una Keiko nella mia vita..per carità, alla larga da me: agli, rosari, crocifissi, mascotte e così via. Daaah! In tutta la fatalità della vicenda ci ritrovo la moderna tragedia greca, che effettivamente si confa così bene ad una sensibilità come quella giapponese. Più a loro che a noi, paradossalmente. Ed è vero: per quanto guarda caso mi trovi a cozzare pure con i classici greci, subisco anche da loro una certa fascinazione per questi processi così rigorosi e dettati da questa sorta di marchio "sentimentale" indelebile, a cui tutto è dovuto, anche il sacrificio della razionalità e del rassegnato e/o umile ridimensionamento dei propri mali e di quelli altrui. Keiko parte in quarta come una protagonista tutta greca ed è per questo che alla fine riconosco a Kawabata quella soggezione mista a fascino che crea non solo negli altri personaggi, ma anche in me!(Come già specificato: tanto curiosa e affascinante, per carità, ma la dovuta distanza prego)Un mix interessante questo: il senso quasi rivisitato della tragedia greca misto a una sensibilità tutta giapponese, e ne esce fuori Bellezza e tristezza.Oddio, adesso dire che Bellezza e tristezza si ferma solo a questo è errato: si discosta dal semplice scivolare sotto un suo antenato con lo stile di Kawabata, la sensazione che ancora prima della trama subentri la neccessità di dipingere quadri su quadri fra le pagine - proprio come Otoko - tant'è vero che a volte ci sono delle vere e proprie didascalie su opere artistiche. Il suo stile è impegnativo - ci ho messo più tempo rispetto alla mia norma per leggere questo libretto -, come alcuni lo hanno elogiato per questi ritratti così suggestivi dei paesaggi, dei personaggi e delle loro azioni - quasi fossero statue dinamiche sempre pronte a fermarsi e posare per l'autore -, altri lo hanno additato un po' deludenti per lo stesso motivo, questa perdità della spontaneità forse, l'essere più inquadrato, rigoroso o geometrico (ma come parlo, ahahah) rispetto ad altri come Murakami etc. Che dire, so' due autori decisamente diversi, interessante per noi occidentali paragonare i vari autori giapponesi, ma non vedo perché questi debbano per forza rientrare nello stesso insieme, se non per il fatto che abitano nello stesso paese. Come variano un Alfieri e un Goldoni (eh, direi proprio), variano anche Kawabata e Murakami etc etc.Però lo ammetto anche io, questa sensazione di spostarsi solo da quadro in quadro con il filo connettore di una trama non è esattamente ciò che più si addice ai miei gusti, per quanto non possa fare a meno di notare le considerevoli (!) abilità di Kawabata. (Mi vien da ridere a parlare di "considerevoli abilità" in merito a un Premio Nobel, però, va detto oh)Forse l'unica cosa per cui mi sento di storcere il naso è questa altalenante farraginosità dello stile, ogni tanto Kawabata esprime concetti due volte nel giro di poche frasi - come se non riuscissi a tenere il filo del discorso - o ancora prima ripete nomi, aggettivi, parole che danno allo stile quella sensazione della "ripetizione macchinosa".E come inteso prima, i personaggi di questa storia rimangono confinati ai loro quadri, alla loro composizione e sono interessanti proprio perché immersi là e solo là: non sono quei personaggi a cui ti affezioni irrimediabilmente e che ti sentiresti di trasportare qui, nella tua realtà attuale, pensando che questi possano mantenere una loro singolarità se messi alla prova dalla quotidianità. Singolarità che, per inciso, in realtà non sostengono neanche nel loro stesso componimento. Keiko forse rimarebbe "unica", ma io già espressi la mia riluttanza a rapportarmi con codesto personaggio. :-D

  • David
    2019-03-09 10:21

    A bit of a shocker. I remembered "Snow Country" as being about old people and snow. This is crammed with sizzling lesbians. There's beauty and sadness in spades, but he's also left lots of room for some very bad romance. Steamy.I think I'm right to say that this has my first Japanese-fiction daytime outdoors sex scene. This was obviously written by a man, and you probably don't want to read it if you are serious about your lesbianism.

  • Hadrian
    2019-03-21 14:11

    A bleak and beautiful and tragic novel, slowly unwinding and unraveling love, lust, beauty, and revenge. Kawabata earns his Nobel many times over.

  • Isa-janis
    2019-03-04 17:25

    Aunque el final es algo precipitado, la belleza del libro y las imágenes que transmite son tan bonitas que vale la pena

  • RK-ique
    2019-02-25 16:12

    Another, my fourth, novel from Kawabata. But this one is very different from the other three. Beauty and Sadness is a novel of love and betrayal, vengeance and deceit. Unlike the other books, the story moves steadily towards an end that is not always apparent. Instead of one central character, Kawabata shifts the centre of attention over three characters. In the other three books, Snow Country, Thousand Cranes and The Sound of the Mountain, much of the 'action' was carried by description, by subtle shifts in ambience. Here the story starts slowly, creating background and characters and then takes the reader on a perilous roller coaster ride towards a stunning climax. Finally, in spite of the action, it is character that defines the story. Kawabata was not a one trick pony. He shows here that he can handle a more 'typical' story while still holding the reader in awe. Read it.

  • Kelly
    2019-02-27 13:12

    Beauty and Sadness tells of how people damage one another--through greed, seduction, and even through art. All of the characters in this look are manipulative to a certain degree, even our favorites. One of the characters was so blatently irrational that I couldn't tell if Kawabata meant for her to be a farse. It's the type of book that I appreciate more after I've read it and start thinking about it, rather than during. I know in the future certain scenes or quotes will pop into my mind. A defining characteristic of Kawabata is how he evokes feelings of isolation and sadness through his landscapes and descriptions of natural settings. Though he might go overboard at times with this, when it's done just right it can be extremely powerful.

  • Tsung
    2019-02-20 12:21

    ”Shall we play dolphin?”I’m really, really torn about this one. I wanted to give up but the revenge plot kept me in. Excuse the schizoid review but that’s how it goes.Once again Kawabata creates an enchanting world with vivid descriptions and luscious prose. If nothing else, Kyoto has got to be on my must visit list.But then there is the sordid plot.(view spoiler)[Middle aged married guy, Oki, violates an underage girl, Otoko, gets her pregnant, miscarries, tries to kill herself, his wife Fumiko also miscarries, he writes a book about the affair, Fumiko helps to type the book, he makes a lot of money, everybody accepts the situation and life goes on. What?!Time does not diminish the lingering feelings between Oki and Otoko, but Otoko also has a young pupil and lover Keiko. Keiko is seductive, smart, talented, possessive, jealous, manipulative, conniving and vindictive. She shags horny old Oki and almost gets cosy with his naïve son. She wants nothing more than revenge on Oki. While it spices up the story, especially with the cliff hanger, open ending, it is a little bit incongruous. Although she plays the villainess, Keiko is the most intriguing and interesting of all the characters. The others seem rather dull, isolated and passive by comparison. (hide spoiler)]That out of the way, once again Kawabata exploits all the five senses in his unique way that transports you into the story setting. He splashes colours into the black and white pages.ColoursFifty shades of green. How does one tell from a painting of a tea plantation that the painting is about a woman? Or that painting of a plum tree is about a woman?Fifty shades of pink. (view spoiler)[This one is about nipples so all I can say is, titillating.(hide spoiler)]SoundsAs the bell tolled on he stopped straining to listen to it, and then he heard a sound that only a magnificent old bell could produce, a sound that seemed to roar forth with all the latent power of a distant world.Smells(view spoiler)[The smell of a woman. Perspiration… (hide spoiler)]There are various references to the arts and history. But it is presence of certain themes which ultimately hold the story together.LonelinessThat revolving chair in the observation car, turning by itself, came before. It was as if he saw his own loneliness silently turning round and round within his heart.MemoryAs the same memories kept recurring to his mind they became increasingly vivid. Events of over twenty years ago were more alive to him than those of yesterday.Time”Even philosophers don’t seem to have any satisfactory explanation of time. People say time will solve everything, but I have my doubts about that, too… Is death the end of it all?”Time passed. But time flows in many streams. Like a river, an inner stream of time will flow rapidly at some places and sluggishly at others, or perhaps even stand hopelessly stagnant. Cosmic time is the same for everyone, but human time differs with each person. Time flows in the same way for all human beings; every human being flows through time in a different way.

  • Baran
    2019-02-22 16:14

    To me, with the every sense of the word, Beauty and Sadness has been a great reading experience and most of the time to my amazement, I have felt disappeared into the haunting and constantly-evolving sentimentality of the characters. Even if with the beginning of the novel it's implied to have two stable protagonists, called Otoko, the female and Oki, the male but twice her senior, the multiplication of the sturdy characters by the author creates magic in the course of the plot, since these two main characters slowly fade away and leave their presence to the side-characters who become the protagonists instead. Honestly this happens so natural that I have never felt any slightest discomfort and a sense of detachment from the reading...As for the content of this stupendous novel, I'd love to say that the entire story is beyond a love triangle, yet it'd be contrarily fair to call it quadrangular love story in which the loving and the beloved shift constantly that in the end the reader might end up asking what their real feelings are, or why the characters are so sickly pathetic when it comes to put into action their emotions... It was a great reading, and saddening in the end but beautifully written with strong touches on the issues of aestheticism, beauty, dark sadness, obsessive love along with an odd sense of honesty (check out Keiko).

  • Guy
    2019-03-20 10:22

    When I bought this book, second hand but 'new,' I ignored the little alarms that warned me to keep my money in my pocket. I had spent too much time looking for my usual dreck in my local used bookstore, and had made myself late — books before life! As I'm in the process of leaving the store I see atop an 'in-box' near the cash register Beauty and Sadness. I decided that the author being Japanese out-weighed my caution against him being a Nobel prize winner. I allowed my visual aesthetic to tumble me into an infatuation with the Japanese print without reading the publication details. And so it came to pass that I impulsively bought a Japanese version of Henry James because I was in a hurry.Henry James! I had rather throw sand in my eyes than read HJ! But, there I was. I spent my time reading this book wondering at whether or not it was the translator or the author who had effected the dull thud of short sentences filled with ominous meaning spoken by automatons repetitively about slowly rotating chairs, or obis, or paintings over and over again, repetitively.The different characters all spoke in the same manner, with the same cadence, and the same heavy handed overtures to misplaced meaningfulness in a meaningless life. There were several times when I had to re-read the dialogue in order to keep straight who was speaking because the sentences all sounded as if they were spoken by the same person.And the passions expressed were done in such dead voices that the finale was almost funny in its obviousness. Now that I'm older, it strikes me that James' characters tend to sound emotionally like overly melodramatic teenagers, housed, supposedly, in the bodies of adults with the adults' life experiences but twisted by their youthful fixation on nirvanic virginal sex, unrequited puppy love, and a cloyingly repugnant narcissistic infantilism. And this is exactly what Yasunari Kawabata and/or his translator gave us with Beauty and Sadness.Why did I finish reading it, then? Well, in short, because I foolishly fell back into my own version of infantilism, to a time when I took pride in my having finished reading every book I started, regardless whether or not I enjoyed it. Michener's The Source humbled me in that regard, and with his writing sparked my nascent understanding that reading bad writing is a narcissistic waste of life. Life is short; read the good books first! (Okay, okay, what is a good book is hard objectively to define!)And so why did I finish reading Beauty and Sadness? Because I belong to some weird web-based book club, and I wanted to put another book into my 'read' file; and because I wanted to write a review of it that I could put up into the ether-sphere. Oh! And because the book is very short, with relatively large font, and is festooned with lots of white space. And when I write this review I get to stuff it on other web sites, at least one which offers a chance at winning some money for books.If you like Henry James, you'll probably like this. If you find youthful melodrama played out by so-called adults with emotionless sensitivity trite and trying, give this book a pass.Moral of the story? When buying books, do not ignore the small inner intuitive warnings lest your book buy's haste has bought you waste.

  • مناف زيتون
    2019-03-10 11:14

    هذه الرواية هي الحياة باختصار

  • Pablo
    2019-03-17 17:13

    Zizek en su introducción del libro Ideología: un mapa de la cuestión. Establece como ciertos autores utilizan la palabra "y" como una categoría. Categoría que sirve para expresar en primer lugar lo más abstracto, y en segundo lugar como eso abstracto se concretiza, sus condiciones de existencia.En este libro, creo que podría aplicarse la anterior categoría. ¿Qué es lo bello? las pinturas de Otoko, su tragedia de amor con Oki, la belleza de Keiko, los paisajes por donde transitan los personajes. Quizás todo esto, y más. Llegando a lo más cliché, la vida en si misma es la bella. Sin embargo, todo esto se da a través de lo triste. Y lo triste parece en esta novela una gran océano, donde la felicidad son pequeñas islas destinadas a desaparecer. Pero belleza no es felicidad, de hecho, muchas veces el costo de la belleza es precisamente la infelicidad. Entonces la distinción de Zizek cobra sentido; lo bello es, llega a ser, a través de los triste. Solo así podemos comprender la verdadera belleza, y su costo.

  • Shivani
    2019-02-28 10:16

    This book is a masterpiece for its depiction of human emotions..namely, jealousy and possessiveness..The book revolves around three main characters : Oki, Otoko and Keiko. Oki (a novelist) is a married man with wife and kids. He (in his thirties) had an affair with Otoko that did not end well, granted Otoko was fifteen at the time. Otoko is in her thirties now. She has gained some renown as a painter and is living with her student/lover Keiko. Oki's nostalgia driven trip to Otoko sets in motion the events that could only end in a tragedy. While I won't reveal the plot twists, I would like to comment on the raw display of human emotions that this book cannot be bested at by any other work I know."Once again the remembered words had been spoken. Keiko knew very well that they tormented Otoko, made her blame herself and regret her attachment, and yet gave that attachment an even more uncanny power over her."Out of all the characters, Keiko's jealousy and possessiveness struck me the most and reminded me of these lines from another work that I admire:"Is there a limit to how much you can love somebody? No matter how much I hurt him or get hurt by him, I find myself far from hating him. Actually hoping that those wounds will scar, like burns. Because then you can never forget me."I can't help but feel that Keiko was driven by similar sentiments. Her actions and words end up hurting Otoko. She tries desperately to tease out harsh responses from Otoko, if only to confirm her hold over her emotions. Keiko seems to be gasping for that acknowledgement from Otoko and doesn't hold back in scratching at the scabs of the past wounds..a past that excludes her. "Unconcerned by the lack of privacy, Keiko bit down hard on Otoko's little finger."It is probably this exclusion that makes her insecure. She is blinded to Otoko's love for her and sets about trying to gauge her lingering love for Oki.Otoko, for her part, appears as forgiving as a human could possibly be for being abandoned. She has moved on in her life and seems to be doing well enough. But she too has her emotional lapses."Perhaps the lovers of old were no more, but she had the nostalgic consolation, in the midst of her sadness, that their love was forever enshrined in a work of art."She is still in grips of her past love and tries to evoke it in her art. It would have been well and good if her art were the only forms of reminder she allowed herself. But it gets worse when her love for Keiko seems to hold echoes of her love for Oki. "the thought that she was repeating Oki's old caresses made her feel a choking sense of guilt. But it also made her quiver with vitality." And here, I feel that Keiko is justified in turning out as a vengeful shrew. Otoko despite her age is the weaker of the two women. She lets things take there course and is blinded to the path of destruction that Keiko has set them on.Oki, on the other hand, didn't impress me as much as the other two characters. He seems callous and to a large extent selfish. His sympathy for Otoko fails to register on a deeper level. And it is hard to relate to his regret over the way things ended with Otoko, when he milks it to his benefit. He, with Otoko, shares the blame for the tragedy at the end."Beauty and Sadness" is all beauty to me..right down till the end. It is a short read. But I went through waxing and waning phases of likes and dislikes for the characters. While the actions drove my judgement in the is the motives that shaped them in the end..I recommend it solely on the basis of how much I loved it. After all, "there are as many kinds of love as there are hearts" :)

  • Evan
    2019-02-24 13:32

    My fourth Kawabata book, this and two others being novels and another a collection of short stories...I don't know if ruminations about the sea and stone gardens and cherry blossoms and fireflies or whatever make this story any less the lurid soap opera. Nonetheless, it's all a framework for what Kawabata does best, about which I elaborate below.The story, in a nutshell, is told partly in retrospect and partly in the present. A novelist in his 50s, Oki, recalls how at age 30 (when he was newly married) he had an affair with a 15-year-old girl, Otoko. She became pregnant, with tragic consequences, and they parted soon after. After a failed suicide, Otoko becomes a notable painter. Fast forward 24 years later, he has become a successful writer, largely on the profits of a novel very much based on their affair. There is fallout from this, including lingering jealousy from Oki's wife and new jealousy from Otoko's young teen artist protege, Keiko. Oki's son soon finds himself drawn into the intrigues. Keiko is masterminding a kind of replay of history -- but with a different result to set the score right. The plot contrivances from there I'll leave alone, other than to say that an elaborate web is woven in which past issues are dredged up and come to a head. Keiko is the least defined character, and yet she's the one who kicks the story into gear, while everything surrounding it is muted in typical Kawabata fashion; she seems like a deus ex machina more than anything. The full nature of Otoko's and Keiko's relationship, at least sexually, is never fully explored, which I found disappointing. Regardless of some of the plot absurdities (Kawabata wants to create a kind of circular arc that bridges past and present, but I'm not thorougly persuaded by how he does it) he is still a master of creating mood and a sense of yearning and exploring the memories, regrets and wisdom of mid-life and old age and reflecting on the follies and attractiveness of youth and the mysteries of time and love, and that's primarily why I like reading him.His descriptions of Kyoto, Japan's old capital, are so evocative you want to catch the first plane to see it. As usual, there are erotic obsessions and motifs seen in the other Kawabata books; he seems to have a fetish or predilection for feet, fingers in the mouth and the notion of older guys shagging young girls. The book was a mixed bag for me; the ending seemed headed about where I suspected it would -- lets call it a karmic tit for tat, or something. Spoilers prevent me from saying much more. The narrative is layered and mixes memory and the present, deftly for the most part. The main characters in this are artists or scholars, so Kawabata has plenty of room in which to consider artistic concerns. He is especially good at evoking links between historical eras and the present, and also at considering the identities characters have with generations past, including the immediate ties with their parents, especially how we reflect our own parents genetically and spiritually. Things are slowly revealed and Kawabata's style as usual is langorous and dreamy. The story about the exhumed princess skeleton holding a glass plate photo of her lover which fades to blankness with exposure to the air is lovely; possibly the best metaphor in the book about the fleetingness of time and love, and the secrets that lovers carry to their graves.

  • Engie
    2019-03-18 13:18

    Kawabata maneja una narrativa sumamente delicada y hermosa.