Monday, March 16, 2015

Beauty and Sadness - Yasunari Kawabata

Erotic sadness...The first ever Japanese Noble laureate Yasunari Kawabata's 'Beauty and Sadness' is a placid,passionate and elegant love story..Though the story mainly describes the love of Miss Ueno Otoko and Oki,there is another similar tale of love between Otoko and Keiko..The story takes off when Toshio Oki,a 54 year old novelist travels to Kyoto to meet his ex love Otoko,after 24 years...

Image from Google

Otoko,a painter by profession was only half his age when Oki seduced her at the age of 15..Later,she delivers a dead baby and tries to commit suicide out of depression but luckily she survives...Oki would not marry her as he was already a married man with a son..Otoko's mother leaves Tokyo hoping a new life for her daughter..But Otoko's love is so pure that she couldn't welcome another person in her life,thus she remains unmarried..Also her reputation was at stake when Oki fictionalizes his affair with this 15 year old girl,which turns in to a well acclaimed work  and brings him huge success..But Otoko still loves him as before..Besides Keiko,a pupil of Otoko loves her most ardently..It seems they also had a relationship in this story..Keiko couldn't stand Otoko suffering her whole life because of a selfish man,so she wants to take revenge..What happened to the two lives on their different paths of love is the next story..

Yasunari Kawabata-Image from Google
Here are few lines from the book,

"You're more than I deserve. It's a love I never dreamed I'd find. Happiness like this is worth dying for..." Even now Oki's words had not faded from her memory. The dialogue in his novel echoed them and seemed to have taken on a life apart from either Oki or herself. Perhaps the lovers of old were no more, but she had the nostalgic consolation, in the midst of her sadness, that their love was forever enshrined in a work of art.

To link whatever she saw and heard with her love was nothing less than to be alive. Her awareness of her body was inseparable from her memory of his embrace.

“I suppose even a woman's hatred is a kind of love.” 

Her awareness of her body was inseparable from her memory of his embrace.

One day while writing a letter Otoko happened to open the dictionary to the character for "think." As she scanned its other meanings ("yearn for," "be unable to forget," "be sad") she felt her chest tighten. She was afraid to touch the dictionary — Oki was even there. Innumerable words reminded her of him.

The story tells how far a woman would go when she truely loves somebody..This novel is a well crafted painting which brings out various abstract shades of woman's personality..The author chose Otoko and Keiko to represent two different kinds of womanly love..On one end,Otoko's love is a fine blend of sacrifice and patience,on the other end,Keiko's love is fierce and comes out of hatred and revenge...But the author succeeded in convincing that the purity of love on both sides is same...Otoko mirrors a passionate lover who never expects anything from a mean person like Oki,but only loves him..Keiko,a fierce personality who could go  to any level and would break every rule for the happiness of her lover..The title was very apt for this novel which says that there always exist both beauty and sadness in love.This was my first book from Yasunari Kawabata,I loved his style of narration and looking forward to read few more works from him.

10 comments:

AmitAag said...

Interesting review! Thank you Nagini:)

Ravish Mani said...

Seems a potential read for me. I'm always fascinated by human psychology. Nice job, Nagini :)

Sabyasachi Patra said...

Nice review. Gives us a good idea about the novel. The quotes resonate. Thanks for sharing.

D.Nambiar said...

That last paragraph makes me want to pick up that book.
I think I'll save that title although it is going to be a few months before I can pick it up. Thank you, Nagini. :)

Lovely writing, btw. :)

Kitty said...

interesting review! would like to read this novel :)

Ankur Anand said...

seems interesting ! unfortunately me whole days goes reading technical things these days .. professional life !

Sujata said...

Bit confused. Is Kieko a girl ? Is it a triangle ?

A Homemaker's Utopia said...

@ Sujata garu,
Yeah,Keiko is a girl..After being abandoned by her family,she lives with Otoko as one of her disciple..By character,Keiko is more like a Tomboy.It's not a love triangle either..If you've watched Kalki movie(K.Balachander),though the plot is not the same,the relation between two women Otoko and Keiko coincides with that a little bit...The only thing I couldn't appreciate is the physical relationship between the two..
Glad to have you here Maa'm..:)

Bikram said...

:) a good review ...



Bikram's

Sujata said...

ohhh.. thx for ur reply. i didnt watch kalki. i will do tht. btw, i am not a maa'm... u are. hope i can pick up such serious reading some day.