Books, November 09

** Yasunari Kawabata – Snow Country
**** Patrick O’Brian – HMS Surprise

Snow Country was less a story or even a character study as much as a snapshot or piece of a mood. Kind of a haiku, but taking a lot longer to read. It describes a woman who’s basically a geisha at a winter village, where people come for skiing and other winter activities, and a man who visits her three times, seems to promise to take care of her, and then doesn’t. It was kind of absurd to me that so much emotional weight is supposedly placed on what seemed to be a very brief, shallow connection; there didn’t seem any compelling reason for either to care deeply about the other, or for the woman to think the man was serious or to become so attached to him. I enjoyed a lot of the moments but overall found it uncompelling.

HMS Surprise is #4 of the Aubrey/Maturin series and one that introduces maybe the most beloved supporting character of all: Jack’s once and future ship, the HMS Surprise. Plus there’s Sophie and Diana and all the usual crew.