Palm-of-the-hand Stories

Front Cover
North Point Press, 1988 - Fiction - 238 pages
4 Reviews
Translated by Lane Dunlop and J. Martin Holman Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1968, Yasunari Kawabata is perhaps best known in the United States for his deeply incisive, marvelously lyrical novel "Snow Country." But according to Kawabata himself, the essence of his art was to be found in a series of short stories-which he called "Palm-of-the-Hand Stories"-written over the entire span of his career. He began experimenting with the form in 1923 and returned to it often. In fact, his final work was a "palm-sized" reduction of "Snow Country," written not long before his suicide in 1972. Dreamlike, intensely atmospheric, at times autobiographical and at others fantastical, these stories reflect Kawabata's abiding interest in the miniature, the wisp of plot reduced to the essential. In them we find loneliness, love, the passage of time, and death. "Palm-of-the-Hand Stories" captures the astonishing range and complexity of one of the century's greatest literary talents.

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - MochiMama - LibraryThing

I found this book, with a very plain blue cover, fairly ugly... I was surprised to find a collection of very interesting stories, all very short and to the point. Also, as a Murakami fan, some of ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - HadriantheBlind - LibraryThing

I'm not sure how to characterize this. I know I have this tagged 'short-stories', but it's something much different. Profound and thought-provoking little parables, which shift imperceptibly and subtly over the course of Kawabata's long illustrious life. Read full review

Other editions - View all

References to this book

About the author (1988)

Author Yasunari Kawabata was born in Osaka, Japan on June 14, 1899. He experienced numerous family deaths during his childhood including his parents, a sister, and his grandparents. He graduated from the Tokyo Imperial University in March 1924. He wrote both short stories including The Dancing Girl of Izu and novels including The Sound of the Mountains, Snow Country, Thousand Cranes, and The Old Capital. In 1959, he received the Goethe Medal in Frankfurt and in 1968 he won the Nobel Prize for Literature. He committed suicide on April 16, 1972.

Bibliographic information