"The apparently fixed constellations of family relationships, the recurrent beauties of nature, the flaming or flickering patterns of love and lust--all the elements of Kawabata's fictional world are combined in an engrossing novel that rises to the incantatory fascination of a N-ō drama." --"Saturday Review"
Few novels have rendered the predicament of old age more beautifully than "The Sound of the Mountain." For in his portrait of an elderly Tokyo businessman, Yasunari Kawabata charts the gradual, reluctant narrowing of a human life, along with the sudden upsurges of passion that illuminate its closing.
By day Ogata Shingo is troubled by small failures of memory. At night he hears a distant rumble from the nearby mountain, a sound he associates with death. In between are the relationships that were once the foundation of Shingo's life: with his disappointing wife, his philandering son, and his daughter-in-law Kikuko, who instills in him both pity and uneasy stirrings of sexual desire. Out of this translucent web of attachments--and the tiny shifts of loyalty and affection that threaten to sever it irreparably--Kawabata creates a novel that is at once serenely observed and enormously affecting.
"Translated from the Japanese by Edward G. Seidensticker"
'Of all modern Japanese fiction, Kawabata's is the closest to poetry' - New York Times Book Review
Yasunari Kawabata was born near Osaka in 1899 and was orphaned at the age of two. His first stories were published while he was still in high school and he decided to become a writer. He graduated from Tokyo Imperial University in 1924 and a year later made his first impact on Japanese letters with Izu Dancer. He soon became a leading figure the lyrical school that offered the chief challenge to the proletarian literature of the late 1920s. His writings combine the two forms of the novel and the haiku poems, which within restrictions of a rigid metre achieves a startling beauty by its juxtaposition of opposite and incongruous terms. Snow Country (1956) and Thousand Cranes (1959) brought him international recognition. Kawabata died by his own hand, on April 16 1972. The Sound of the Mountain is translated from the Japanese by Edward G. Seidensticker (1921-2007), who was a prominent scholar of Japanese literature.