Palm-of-the-Hand Stories

( 3 )

Overview

Recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1968, the novelist Yasunari Kawabata felt the essence of his art was to be found not in his longer works but in a series of short stories--which he called "Palm-of-the-Hand Stories"--written over the span of his career. In them we find loneliness, love, and the passage of time, demonstrating the range and complexity of a true master of short fiction.

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Overview

Recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1968, the novelist Yasunari Kawabata felt the essence of his art was to be found not in his longer works but in a series of short stories--which he called "Palm-of-the-Hand Stories"--written over the span of his career. In them we find loneliness, love, and the passage of time, demonstrating the range and complexity of a true master of short fiction.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Nobel laureate Kawabata is best known in the West for such novels as Snow Country and Thousand Cranes, yet his short stories, written over 50 years, seem to contain his essence as a writer. Here sensitively translated are 70 of them, most written in Kawabata's youth and usually no more than a page or two in length, though the last one, ``Gleanings from Snow Country,'' is somewhat longer and was written just before Kawabata's suicide in 1972; it is a miniaturization of the highly praised novel of the same name. The tales are variously realistic, allegorical and fantastic; and, as in the novels, the principal themes are love, loneliness, social change, man's relation with nature and death. Each story exhibits some sharp and often subtle perception of life (in Kawabata's world, stillness can ``resound'' and men listening to a woman's laugh can experience ``a strange kind of aural jealousy''); and each, like a haiku or classic Zen painting, suggests far more than it states. (July)
Library Journal
These 60 stories by 1968 Nobel laureate Kawabata are engagingly and sensitively translated. The stories, never more than three pages long and often only a page, were written from 1923 to 1972, the year of Kawabata's suicide. Some are cryptic, permitting only guessed-at meanings, others whimsically humorous; some express poignant emotions, others epiphanies; some deal with everyday life, others with ghosts; some with samurais, others with peasants. Though they all take place in 20th-century Japan, these stories are timeless and essentially universal. Kawabata is a master storyteller reminiscent of James Joyce, but with a smaller, sharper, more incisive vision. Highly recommended. Kitty Chen Dean, Nassau Coll., Garden City, N.Y.
Kenneth Koch
Kawabata does for the short story what Paul Klee did for painting and Webern for music, showing how to get the profoundest experience and the surest sense of artistic form into an extremely small work. These stories inspire and go on inspiring. They make writing a story seem-and it may be-as natural a result of deep excited feeling as writing a poem.
Chicago Tribune
These stories are jewels, indeed, each one a soul, a life, or a whole work distilled to palm-sized proportions.
San Francisco Chronicle
There are few other writers who could invoke such a lasting memory of a single image with so few words.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374530495
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 11/14/2006
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 280
  • Sales rank: 516,337
  • Product dimensions: 5.43 (w) x 8.19 (h) x 0.76 (d)

Meet the Author

Yasunari Kawabata was born in Osaka, Japan, in 1899 and before World War II had established himself as his country’s leading novelist. Among his major works are Snow Country, A Thousand Cranes, and The Master of Go. Awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1968, he died in 1972.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 24, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I'm on my second copy.

    This is a collection of short shorts. They are less stories than moments in time frozen in words. The moments may be of feelings, epiphanies, ideas, acceptance or actions. They are one to three pages and so are great reading material when you don't have the time to get involved in something longer. My suggestion is read one story and savor it for a while before starting the next.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2001

    Kawabata puts other authors to shame

    Absolutely amazing, and beautifully bizarre. Some stories don't even fill a page, but each and every one is brilliantly complete. Anyone will love this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 1999

    Absolutely beautiful!

    It's amazing how one can bring out thousands of images to stories this short. I have never read a book like this before. You will love it if you are into minimalism.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews

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