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The Lake - Kawabata Yasunari

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The Lake is the history of an obsession. It traces a man's sad pursuit of an unattainable perfection, a beauty out of reach, admired from a distance, unconsummated.

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The Lake is the history of an obsession. It traces a man's sad pursuit of an unattainable perfection, a beauty out of reach, admired from a distance, unconsummated. Homeless, a fugitive from an ambiguous crime, his is an incurable longing that drives him to shadow nameless women in the street and hide in ditches as they pass above him, beautiful and aloof. For their beauty is not of this world, but of a dream--the voice of a girl he meets in a Turkish bath is an angel's, the figures of two students he follows seem to glide over the green grass that hid their knees. Reality is the durable ugliness that is his constant companion and is symbolized in the grotesque deformity of the hero's feet. And it is the irreconcilable nature of these worlds that explains the strangely dehumanized, shadowy quality of the eroticism that pervades this novel.