Nobel Prize winner Yasunari Kawabata’s The Sound of the Mountain is a beautiful rendering of the predicament of old age — the gradual, reluctant narrowing of a human life, along with the sudden upsurges of passion that illuminate its closing.
By day Ogata Shingo, an elderly Tokyo businessman, is troubled by small failures of memory. At night he associates the distant rumble he hears from the nearby mountain with the sounds of death. In between are the complex relationships that were once the foundations of Shingo’s life: his trying wife; his philandering son; and his beautiful daughter-in-law, who inspires in him both pity and the stirrings of desire. Out of this translucent web of attachments, Kawabata has crafted a novel that is a powerful, serenely observed meditation on the relentless march of time.
“Kawabata is a poet of the gentlest shades, of the evanescent, the imperceptible.”
“A rich, complicated novel. . . . Of all modern Japanese fiction, Kawabata’s is the closest to poetry.”
—The New York Times Book Review