Nobel Prize winner Yasunari Kawabata’s Thousand Cranes is a luminous story of desire, regret, and the almost sensual nostalgia that binds the living to the dead.
While attending a traditional tea ceremony in the aftermath of his parents’ deaths, Kikuji encounters his father’s former mistress, Mrs. Ota. At first Kikuji is appalled by her indelicate nature, but it is not long before he succumbs to passion—a passion with tragic and unforeseen consequences, not just for the two lovers, but also for Mrs. Ota’s daughter, to whom Kikuji’s attachments soon extend. Death, jealousy, and attraction convene around the delicate art of the tea ceremony, where every gesture is imbued with profound meaning.
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.
“A literary habitat like no other . . . quietly devastating fiction. . . . Behind a lyrical and understated surface, chaotic passions pulse.”
—The Independent (London)
“Thousand Cranes has the qualities of the best Japanese writing: a stunning economy, delicacy of feeling, and a painter’s sensitivity to the visible world.”