Review: Snow Country

Snow Country
Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

It seems to be the norm in Japan for a married man to go on a holiday, away from his family, by himself. It appears also to be expected that ‘entertainment’ is to be procured. Or that is the impression I’ve got from this novella (and also some other historical Japanese novels I’ve read but this novella, in particular). I find this custom somewhat strange but I don’t think it’s actually that strange for that time setting… it’s just strange for me in my current time period & modern culture.

Shimamura, a wealthy man, goes to an isolated mountain hot spring for a holiday and met Komako, a poor woman turned geisha. Something about Komako attracted him and he continued to return year after year. Komako herself gave her all to this family man knowing nothing good will ever comes of this affair. She can’t seem to stop herself though and continues to run to him each time she finds the slightest chance and even as she surrenders to this passion, she sinks into despair that they will never be together. Shimamura himself cannot or will not give her up…

Honestly, I couldn’t really stand both characters. There was too much fluffing about. I can spare a bit of sympathy for Komako, being poor and somewhat stuck in her position, however, the way she conducted herself, I found, distasteful (undignified?). Other than that, I do so love the atmosphere of the hot spring & the little mountain village!

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