Friday, 4 January 2019

物の哀れ

The Japanese term mono no aware (物の哀れ) is said to be untranslatable, but English-language Wikipedia contains a valiant effort:
the awareness of impermanence ... or transience of things, and both a transient gentle sadness (or wistfulness) at their passing as well as a longer, deeper gentle sadness about this state being the reality of life.
Some of the best books and TV/radio series can evoke this feeling in me, sometimes at two levels: existential mono no aware, as well as an awareness, even while I'm reading or watching, and consequently a gentle sadness, that the book or series will end.

In 2018, I was lucky to discover such an example in each of the three aforementioned genres: A Month in the Country (a 1980 novel by J L Carr), the Detectorists (a BBC TV series which ran from 2014–17) and Cabin Pressure (a BBC radio series, 2008–14).

You're welcome, and happy new year!