The Sound of the Mountain – Yasunari Kawabata

The Sound of the Mountain is one of the most-read books of Yasunari Kawabata, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Yasunari Kawabata, the first Japanese author to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1968, remains one of the most widely read authors worldwide. After reading the Sound of the Mountain, I can say that I understand the reason very well. This tiny book of 236 pages feels like I’ve read a big novel with thousands of pages.


The Sound of the Mountain - Yasunari Kawabata

We listen to the story from an old businessman called Shingo, and, to be honest, nothing fancy happens. You often find yourself reading about flowers and trees. Of course, after reading them, you find yourself looking for a few greenery around you. When do cherry blossoms bloom? What colour were those flowers? If you are not close to nature, the things you’ll read in this book may hurt you. Because it makes you miss the trees and flowers a lot. Often, Shingo’s fear of death slowly finds its way in your brain, and you find yourself thinking about how ageing will be like.

Most importantly, you’ll think that every family has its own trouble. No matter how they look from outside, every family has problems. Aside from these troubles, the Sound of the Mountain made me think again and again about people. Why do we make a lot of assumptions about each other? Why do we condemn ourselves to this terrible insincerity?

The Sound of the Mountain - Yasunari Kawabata

The Sound of the Mountain

Ogata Shingo is growing old, and his memory is failing him. At night he hears only the sound of death in the distant rumble from the mountain. The relationships which have previously defined his life – with his son, his wife, and his attractive daughter-in-law – are dissolving, and Shingo is caught between love and destruction. Lyrical and precise, The Sound of the Mountain explores in immaculately crafted prose the changing roles of love and the truth we face in ageing.

Yasunari Kawabata

Yasunari Kawabata was a Japanese novelist and short story writer whose spare, lyrical, subtly-shaded prose works won him the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1968, the first Japanese author to receive the award. His works have enjoyed broad international appeal and are still widely read.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges: 

Japanese Literature – A Literary Journey

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