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Death in Midsummer: And Other Stories (New Directions Paperbook) Paperback – January 17, 1966

ISBN-13: 978-0811201179 ISBN-10: 0811201171

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Death in Midsummer: And Other Stories (New Directions Paperbook) + Confessions of a Mask
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Product Details

  • Series: New Directions Paperbook
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: New Directions (January 17, 1966)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811201171
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811201179
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #194,369 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

““In Death in Midsummer Yukio Mishima unfolds to English-language readers a range of his talents as he explores a variety of pathways into the complex Japanese personality. He can be funny, even hiliarious, but he is also capable of plunging into the dark psychic depths acheived by Hitchcock.  ” (Robert Trumbell - The New York Times Book Review)

““When I read a writer such as Mishima I’m not only experiencing a narrative but also dueling with another darkness behind the words. A seemingly empty house haunted with invisible presences obtusely felt, and the tingle of awareness that someone else is in it, watching.”” (Benjamin Hale - n+1)

““Genius...Yukio Mishima is one of the great writers of the 20th-century. An extraordinary mind.”  ” (The Los Angeles Times)

About the Author

Yukio Mishima (1925-1970) was many people. The best known in Japan of the writers to emerge there after World War II, he was by far the most published abroad. Mishima completed his first novel the year he entered the University of Tokyo. More followed (some twenty-three, the last completed the day of his death in November, 1970), along with more than forty play, over ninety short stories, several poetry and travel volumes and hundreds of essays. Influenced by European literature, in which he was exceptionally well read, he was an interpreter to his own people of Japan's ancient virtues, to which he urged a return. He had sung on the stage, starred in and directed movies and was a noted practitioner of Japan's traditional martial arts. He seemed at the height of his career and vitality at the age of forty-five, when after a demonstration in the public interest he committed suicide by ceremonial seppuku.

Customer Reviews

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Filled with mostly average stories with a good mishima twist or style.
Zachary Bittner
Although I enjoyed some stories more than others they were all worth reading and especially so for any fan of Mishima's other works.
Jon
'Swaddling Clothes' is a personal favorite, wickedly barbed and haunting.
Henry Platte

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 13, 2002
Format: Paperback
A friend recommended Mishima to me, and this was the book I picked up. First, to respond to a reviewer below, this book (at least my copy) has no introduction, no preface, no afterward, and has numerous translators. The stories were selected by Mishima himself, and the book was published in New York. Reading any "leftist" intentions on the part of the publishers of this book, then, is certainly very strange, unless it was gleaned from the three paragraph synopsis on the back.
That having been said, I was immensley impressed by this book. After the first three stories ("Death in Midsummer", "Three Million Yen", and "Thermos Bottle") I was ready to admit the genius of the author. The title story is abridged, and the translation on all three is awkward -- I don't know a bit of Japanese, but the English itself lacked lucidity and had some confused grammar. Nevertheless, there's a remarkable detail to the deliniation of character, a mesmorizing lyrical style, and a powerful look into the psychology of man when confronted with tragic and absurd circumstances. The stories, also, are brilliantly subtle satires of middle class values. The author clearly intends to show the decline in the Japanese character as a result of Westernization and modernization. At some points it hints at leftist values -- a dislike of the bourgeois, a sympathy for the poor, etc. But Mishima's strange and anachronistic political beliefs show us that his work is best read as insight into the identity crisis facing modern Japan, and not as leftist, or even entirely rightist. (I read, while glancing through a biography of the author, a statement he made after speaking to a group of leftist students. He said something to the effect of "We shared a friendship and an understanding, embracing through a barbed fence...
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 23, 1999
Format: Paperback
I stumbled onto Mishima accidentally but he's fantastic. All these stories are written simply but beautifully, with not a single excess word, and deal with everything from patriotism, homosexuality, suicide, death, love, materialism, and dreams. Top stories? Definitely "Death in Midsummer" and "Seven Bridges", but most importantly, "Patriotism", a completely disturbing, beautiful and unforgettable work.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By vic spicer on March 1, 1999
Format: Paperback
this personally selected collection of short stories shows mishima at his best. from a surreal no play to gentle stories of mourning and loss, this is all great stuff which translated beautifully. my only reservation would be the story "patriotism", which details the ritual suicide of a young couple- ick. compelling, but not for the weak stomached.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Olivia on October 3, 2001
Format: Paperback
Ten stories by Mishima Yukio; three of which are translated by Edward Seidensticker, two by Ivan Morris, three by Donald Keene, and two by Geoffrey Sargent.
Personally, I don't care for Seidensticker's style -- his translations always seem so lifeless -- and reading through his three stories [including the "Death in Midsummer" of the title] was nearly torturous. My favorites of this set of short stories were "The Seven Bridges" [Keene, trans.] and "Patriotism" [Sargent, trans.], a look at the last days of a soldier and his wife.
Mishima's stories often lack a traditional plot, focusing instead upon the slow development of a single scene, or on emerging human emotions and motives. Death is a recurring theme in all of his work, and is portrayed with a terrible beauty and admiration.
Recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Elliott Goodman on December 29, 2003
Format: Paperback
Mishima writes with amazing clarity of thought. His sentences are among the clearest I have ever read. I feel at a loss of words, a "poverty of emotion," as Mishima might call it, in trying to write about Death in Midsummer. The only thing I can say - to even try to do him and his book justice - is READ IT!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Zachary Bittner on May 5, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is a collection of stories by yukio mishima ranging on many highly japanese culture influenced topics.

I have been a fan of Mishima since acts of worship and confessions of a mask. This edition, while a collection of stories like acts of worship does not touch on his complete wildness as acts of worship did. Many of the stories in this edition has mostly to do with women and the role they play in society which mishima does well to explain, and elaborate as if he was the woman in these stories himself. Much like he did in "my friend hitler" yet not as surprisingly boring for such an extreme title.

However, the stories do not have the surreal and overtly taboo quality I have grown to love in mishima. I should note that this collection does come with the story patriotism which so many people rave about.

In short, This book is more like mishima lite then anything. Filled with mostly average stories with a good mishima twist or style.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jon on June 5, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Death in Midsummer and Other Stories comes with ten stories that are all great for the most part. One of them is a play with a Kabuki theme. The prose is neither too heavy nor too crisp. It reminded me of the pocketbooks translation of, "Spring Snow" which I also enjoyed. Although I enjoyed some stories more than others they were all worth reading and especially so for any fan of Mishima's other works. The set opens up with, "Death in Midsummer" which is a story about... death/loss (surprise surprise). One story that stood out was, "Patriotism." I won't give anything away except that it was one of the more terrifying short stories I've read. It was really brutal but as I've said earlier- worth reading. Another favorite story was, "The Priest of Shiga Temple and His Love." Again, I won't give anything away but the tone of that story did a lot as it came off as religious (and wasn't preachy). So these stories were the highlights for me but again, they were all good and make this set a worhwhile purchase for any Mishima fan or those looking for an introduction to the author... since there is variety in setting and direction for these stories.
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