Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Snow Country (雪国 Yukiguni) is the first novel by the Nobel Prize-winning Japanese author Kawabata Yasunari. The novel established Kawabata as one of Japan's foremost authors, and became an instant classic It was described by Edward G. Seidensticker (noted Japanese literature scholar and the novel's English translator) as "perhaps Kawabata's masterpiece".
It was started in 1934, and published in installments starting in 1935, with the first version completed in 1937. A final section was added in 1947. Snow Country is a stark tale of a love affair between a Tokyo dilettante and a provincial geisha, which takes place in a remote hot-spring town somewhere on the west of the Japanese Alps.
This is a region where Arctic winds cross the Sea of Japan, picking up moisture and depositing it as snow up to fifteen feet deep in the mountains. The atmosphere suggested by the title infuses the book.
The hot springs of the region were home to inns which were visited by men traveling alone, and paid female companionship was a staple. The geisha of the hot springs had nothing like the social status of their sisters in Kyoto and Tokyo, and were usually thinly veneered courtesans, whose brief careers inevitably ended in a downward spiral. The choice of one as the heroine adds to the atmosphere of the book.
The liaison between her and the male protagonist, a wealthy loner who is an expert on Western ballet, is thus doomed to failure. The nature of that failure, and the parts played by others, form the theme of the book.
In form, it reminded Seidensticker of a haiku, both because of its many delicate contrapuntal touches, but also because it uses brief scenes to tell a larger story.
It was translated into English in 1957.
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details