Sunday, August 03, 2008

The Master of Go

Over at the Guardian, Mark Lawson has a fun, if somewhat rambling article about sport in books. He even manages to include Roth's Great American Novel, which I was hoping he'd miss so I could do my book snob thing and gloat about the omission.

The book he does miss, and which remains one of the most compelling descriptions of sport I've ever read is Kawabata's Master of Go. It's incredible how vividly Kawabata brings the game of Go to life, even to someone who knows nothing about the sport, how he makes you see the different styles of the two players, makes you feel the palpable tension in the room. It is a testament to the exquisite skill of this subtlest of masters that in his hands the game remains a gripping spectacle even as it transcends its board to become a meditation on the face-off between generations and world-views, between grace and energy, tradition and innovation.


Space Bar said...

You remember this post, don't you? It has a link (I hope still active) to the game described in Meijin.

I just realised that you linked, in the comments, to an old post of yours. How self-reflexive we all are...sigh.

Alok said...

The article doesn't mention Nabokov's The Defense which is about Chess. I haven't read it though...

but then chess is not really a "sport"