Monday 7 March 2022

Book Review: The Sound of the Mountain by Kawabata Yasunari (Modern Classic)

Title: The Sound of the Mountain
Author: Kawabata Yasunari
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: 2011 (1953)
Pages: 209
Genre: Modern Classic
Xmas Gift

Ogata Shingo is growing old, and his memory is failing him. At night he hears only the sound of death in the distant rumble from the mountain. The relationships which have previously defined his life - with his son, his wife, and his attractive daughter-in-law - are dissolving, and Shingo is caught between love and destruction. Lyrical and precise, The Sound of the Mountain explores in immaculately crafted prose the changing roles of love and the truth we face in ageing.


The Sound of the Mountain offered a lyrical and thoughtful look at family relationships through the eyes of an aging father. The characters were all well drawn and interesting figures, and the story was essentially a snapshot of a family in which changes in the lives of several of its members are impacting the group as a whole, and their relationships with one another. It is classic Kawabata style, so if you already enjoy his writing, you are sure to love this one. If you are new to Kawabata it is also a shortish piece (about 200 pages) which will give you an introduction to his storytelling style. It gets 5 stars from me.

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