Monday, March 15, 2010

Reader's Diary #590- Yasunari Kawabata: The Pomegranate

(A pre-scheduled post to appear while I'm in Japan)

In 1968, Yasunari Kawabata was the first Japanese author to win the Nobel Prize for Literature.

The first thing I noticed about Kawabata's "The Pomegranate" was the short sentences. It seemed very choppy. I wasn't sure if I liked the style at first and wondered if it had anything to do with Edward Seidensticker's translation. (It's so easy to blame the translator, isn't it?)

In any case, I came to appreciate the crisp writing. With a heavy emphasis on a singular symbol and rich imagery, the short sentences simply added to the tight focus of the plot and of the writing itself.

The story begins with a pomegranate tree the day after a storm. It's been stripped of all its leaves. Only one pomegranate remains, hanging by itself. I would think of such an image as hopeful, a pomegranate hanging on despite the odds. But Kimiko sees at as a lonely image. And thus begins this simple but beautiful story.

(Did you write a post for Short Story Monday? If so, please leave a link in the comments below.)


JoAnn said...

I'm enjoying your Japanese short stories! A single pomegranate on a storm-ravaged tree strikes me as a lonely image... you must have a more optimistic nature! I'll read this one later today.

My post is about an Anne Enright story:

Margot at Joyfully Retired said...

I'm not sure my eyes would even see the single pomegranate. I would probably be looking at all the damage around it. I don't know what that says about me.
I read a short story by Flannery O"Connor. You can find my review

Anonymous said...

It sounds sad to me.

I read one by James Joyce.

Teddy Rose said...

I just saved it to read. Sounds like a really nice story and very short.

Here's mine: