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The Old Capital

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Home » Books » Fiction & Literature » Literary Collections

The Old Capital

By Yasunari Kawabata, J Martin Holman (Translated by)

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Format: Paperback, 182 pages
Published In: United States, 10 January 2006
"The Old Capital" is one of the three novels cited specifically by the Nobel Committee when they awarded Kawabata the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1968. With the ethereal tone and aesthetic styling characteristic of Kawabata's prose, "The Old Capital" tells the story of Chieko, the adopted daughter of a Kyoto kimono designer, Takichiro, and his wife, Shige. Set in the traditional city of Kyoto, Japan, this deeply poetic story revolves around Chieko who becomes bewildered and troubled as she discovers the true facets of her past. With the harmony and time-honored customs of a Japanese backdrop, the story becomes poignant as Chieko s longing and confusion develops."


Whether this subtle and brooding novel, here making its first appearance in English, deserves to rank alongside Snow Country and Thousand Cranes as one of Kawabata's major works is debatable, but it contains all the Nobel laureate's most striking characteristicsacute esthetic sensibility, preoccupation with the clash between old and new, pervasive melancholy and a story line suggestive of a Zen brush-and-ink painting where what is omitted is as important as what is included. Set in Kyoto, the Japanese city most symbolic of tradition, the story centers on a young woman, Chieko, whohaving been brought up to think her parents stole her as a baby in a fit of passionate desireis profoundly disturbed to learn (after a chance encounter with a girl who turns out to be her sister) that her real parents had abandoned her. Her identity crisis is exacerbated by her need to choose between carrying on her adoptive father's kimono-designing business, now in decay, and leaving home to marry. It's an intensely poetic story in which much is evoked, little stated or concluded. (June 20)

"J. Martin Holman...has generally struck an excellent balance between accuracy and the need to create a certain level of evocative possibility. Holman is to be congratulated for making available in English a number of striking works by this now-classic Japanese author."

EAN: 9781593760328
ISBN: 1593760329
Publisher: Shoemaker & Hoard, Div of Avalon Publishing Group Inc
Dimensions: 20.57 x 13.97 x 1.27 centimetres (0.34 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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