Nobel Prize winner Yasunari Kawabata’s The Sound of the Mountain is a beautiful rendering of the predicament of old age — the gradual, reluctant narrowing of a human life, along with the sudden upsurges of passion that illuminate its closing.
By day Ogata Shingo, an elderly Tokyo businessman, is troubled by small failures of memory. At night he associates the distant rumble he hears from the nearby mountain with the sounds of death. In between are the complex relationships that were once the foundations of Shingo’s life: his trying wife; his philandering son; and his beautiful daughter-in-law, who inspires in him both pity and the stirrings of desire. Out of this translucent web of attachments, Kawabata has crafted a novel that is a powerful, serenely observed meditation on the relentless march of time.
About the Author
Yasunari Kawabata, winner of the 1968 Novel Prize for Literature, was one of Japan's most distinguished novelists. Born in Osaka in 1899, he published his first stories while he was still in high school. He graduated from Tokyo Imperial University in 1924. His story "The Izu Dancer," first published in 1925, appeared in The Atlantic Monthly in 1955. Among his major novels published in the United States are Snow Country (1956), The Master of Go (1972), and Beauty and Sadness (1975). Kawabata was found dead, by his own hand, in 1972.
“Kawabata is a poet of the gentlest shades, of the evanescent, the imperceptible.”
“A rich, complicated novel. . . . Of all modern Japanese fiction, Kawabata’s is the closest to poetry.”
—The New York Times Book Review