Known for his radiant imagery and hazy pathos, author Yasunari Kawabata is a literary giant in the pantheon of Japanese writers. The country’s first author to win the Nobel Prize for literature in 1968, his works are still widely read today.
Now, a previously untranslated work by Kawabata is available in English. “The Rainbow,” which was first released in Japan in 1951, depicts a complicated family haunted by past sins. The wealthy architect Mizuhara has had three loves in his life — and a daughter from each. The story, set a few years after World War II, focuses on two of them: Asako, the girlishly idealistic youngest sibling, and Momoko, the grief-stricken and traumatized eldest whose first love died in the war.
Kawabata explores a tangled web of kinship, casting his eye over his characters’ relationships with parents, children, siblings and family members of lovers.