Wednesday 2 March 2022

Book Review: Snow Country by Kawabata Yasunari (Modern Classic)

Title: Snow Country
Author: Kawabata Yasunari
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: 2011 (1948)
Pages: 121
Genre: Modern Classic
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Shimamura is tired of the bustling city. He takes the train through the snow to the mountains of the west coast of Japan to meet with a geisha he believes he loves. Beautiful and innocent, Komako is tightly bound by the rules of a rural geisha and lives a life of servitude and seclusion that is alien to Shimamura – their love offers no freedom to either of them.


Snow Country is a novella that grew on me slowly. I wasn't immediately caught up in the story and characters as I have been with other Kawabata works, but the prose was as lyrically beautiful as always, and by the midway point I began to feel more engaged, although I was never completely sucked in. The book had some lovely moments, so existing Kawabata fans will find something to enjoy here; however, if you are new to his writing, I would recommend starting with one of his other books. It gets 4 stars from me.

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