Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Old Capital - Yasunari Kawabata

Kawabata won the 1968 Nobel Prize for Literature - and this was one of three of his novels cited by the Nobel committee. It tells the story of Chieko, the only child of a kimono designed in Kyoto. According to her parents, they kidnapped her when she was a small child and raised her as their own. As their stories never quite match-up, Chieko knows there is more to it. As the story unfolds, Chieko slowly learns more about the reality of her past. Simultaneously, she is faced with her role in her role as a daughter and a woman in Japanese society and the choices she has to make, as well as those that are foisted upon her. The plot itself moves slowly and was not that interesting to me. What I did love was the lyrical language of the story - I've said this before on my blog, but I am always fascinated by books that have been translated from another language - I wonder how much is lost in translation and how the translators manage to convey the feelings and emotions of the book in its original language. However it's done, it worked in this case. A perfect book to read in the last couple days of rainy weather, sitting by my window and looking out at the falling white blossoms from my plus tree.

1 comment:

ghm-mmm said...

it's hard work to translate the book and convey all the feelings to the reader.