Kawabata Yasunari's first artistic medium was painting, a fact perhaps reflected in his writing's masterful and evocative juxtaposition of imagery. One of Japan's finest novelists, he writes of memories and desires and the intensity of the immediate. His prose is intended to richly suggest more than it declares. For all of his talent and success, Kawabata does not appear to have been a happy man. Knowledgeable in the classics and in Buddhism, he felt a sense of loss and impermanence, as if this world held no particular place for him. Kawabata committed suicide without leaving a word of explanation.