Short Stories All the Time

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... a few of my thoughts about 900, mostly contemporary, short stories.
Showing posts with label Kawabata. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kawabata. Show all posts

05 June, 2011

Yasunari Kawabata, "Umbrella"

This is a sweet, two-page story about a shy girl and boy. Small gestures can sometimes carry a tremendous amount of meaning and emotional growth. Written in 1932 and uses a shifting point of view between the girl and the boy.

I like this author and was interested to see that the first story in A Walk in My World--an anthology of global writers with short stories in which young people are featured--is by Kawabata.

30 May, 2011

Yasunari Kawabata, "The Bound Husband"

"The Bound Husband" is also dated 1930 in the collection, Palm-of-the-Hand Stories . Ranko, a revue dancer, binds her husband with a string by the leg. Truth and expectations go both ways with two people who are committed to one another, outside appearances are not always accurate, especially when others meddle.

This story is only 4 pages long.

29 May, 2011

Yasunari Kawabata, "Makeup"

"Makeup" is only 2 pages long and is about stages of grief and expectations. Two restroom windows face each other across a narrow alley way in which the Yanaka Funeral Hall throws its used wreaths and flowers. Women and young women use the restroom to apply make-up behind which to hide. One young girl cries unabashedly but suddenly smiles and leaves. The voyeur across the alley is perplexed. Wonderful really short story.

"Makeup" is another selection from 1930 in the collection Palm-of-the-Hand Stories.

Yasunari Kawabata, "The Rooster and the Dancing Girl"

This very short story begins with a great sentence. "Of course, the dancing girl hated it --carrying a rooster under her arm--no matter how late at night it was." The dancing girl gains wisdom and displays loyalty. The story is 4 1/2 pages long and divided into 8 scenes. The rooster is a Japanese symbol for virtue and reliability and courage, all of which the dancing girl possesses.

I like the brevity and the poetic sense of this story because, for me, short stories are supposed to be open-ended, mysterious, change with each reading, and inspire contemplation. This tiny story does that.

Many stories are included in the collection, spanning 1923 to 1972, Palm-of-the-Hand Stories. Kawabata won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1968.

official Nobel Prize page biography for Kawabata