Winner of the 1968 Nobel Prize in Literature, Yasunari Kawabata is perhaps best known in the United States for his novel Snow Country. But Kawabata himself felt that the essence of his art was to be found not in his spare, concise novels but in a series of short stories—which he called "Palm-of-the-Hand Stories"—written over the entire span of his career. He began experimenting with the form in 1923 and returned to it often. In fact, his final work was a "palm-sized" reduction of Snow Country, written not long before his suicide in 1972.
These stories reflect Kawabata's abiding interest in the miniature, the wisp of plot reduced to the essential. In them we find loneliness, love, the passage of time, and death. Palm-of-the-Hand Stories captures the range and complexity of one of the twentieth century's notable writers of short fiction.