Literature in Translation
Snow Country is a novel about the three visits of Shimamura, a wealthy man of leisure to a hot springs mountain resort on the western side of Japan. It is spring the first time and he meets a local geisha, Komako. She is reluctant to be a geisha but feels she needs a 'protector'. Komako is immature, chatty and highly emotional.
The next visit is in the fall, Komako has grown and matured. She finds the relationship a struggle.
The final visit is in the winter and Shimamura and Komako argue and grow further and further apart. Shimamura is now attracted to Yoko, a friend of Komako. The reader wonders if the cycle will repeat itself.
This book is very lyrical. The descriptions are very well done and very detailed. The book is a love story. It starts off with young love, progresses on to a more adult type of love and finally starts to die off.
First Line: "In the winter, cold winds blow down from Siberia, pick up moisture over the Japan Sea, and drop it as snow when they strike the mountains of Japan."