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Comment: 1968 Hardcover [1st American ed.] Text in English ; Japanese. vi, 403 p. Former Library book. Translation of Kinjiki. Shows definite wear, and perhaps considerable marking on inside. 100% Money Back Guarantee. Shipped to over one million happy customers. Your purchase benefits world literacy!
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Forbidden Colors Hardcover – June, 1968

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 403 pages
  • Publisher: Alfred a Knopf (June 1968)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9997404661
  • ISBN-13: 978-9997404664
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 6.2 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,508,117 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Published in the United States during the 1960s but written years earlier, this Mishima trio, while vastly different in plot, all sport the common theme of idealism destroyed by reality. Nearly three decades after his death, Mishima continues to be a compelling novelist. (LJ 1/15/63, LJ 3/15/68, LJ 9/1/69)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Language Notes

Text: English, Japanese (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By frumiousb VINE VOICE on January 6, 2007
Format: Paperback
Bitter and brilliant, Forbidden Colors is a tough book to like. Someone asked me if I enjoyed it, and I honestly cannot say that I did. It moved me. It filled me with both admiration and pity. It depressed me, and ultimately troubled me. Mishima at his best is a writer of terrible vision. Even though I might not have liked what he had to say in Forbidden Colors, I believe that it is one of his best works.

Forbidden Colors is a relentlessly bitter book. When the imperfect and intellectual collide with beauty, nobody comes off well at all. Women are shrill, easy to manipulate, and stupid. Gay men are grasping and shallow. Even the intellectual writer who starts the whole plot is pilloried for his age, perpetual failure, and incompleteness of his vision. Only the beautiful emerge relatively unscathed, their shortcomings in other areas obviously unimportant put next to their aesthetic value. It is an unhappy and unkind view of the world. It becomes an unpleasant experience to read since Mishima is such a skilled writer that by the end you suspect that this perspective may be right after all. And which of us can lay claim to the beauty of Yuichi?

This is not an uplifting novel. I gave it five stars despite myself. I admired it tremendously, but when I was done I still almost wished that I had not read it. Recommended for people interested in Mishima, the Japanese modern novel, and representations of gender and sexuality in modern literature. Although sex is at the center of the book, it is not explicit or graphic. Many of the ideas are similar to those in Mishima's essay book Sun and Steel, but Forbidden Colors has the advantage of being much more readable than the non-fiction.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Chad M. Brick on December 16, 2000
Format: Paperback
Mishima's "Forbidden Colors" is in some ways a dark, homoerotic, post-modern allusion to Dickens' "Great Expectations", with the beautiful Yuichi replacing the outwardly-impeccable Estella. Unlike Dickens more direct style, however, Mishima's writing is challenging to read, with layer upon layer of metaphor and allusion.
This is not a happy story. The characters are deeply flawed, and their struggles to overcome their lackings are often futile. The most deserving characters wind up with the least, while Yuichi's beauty carries him through a whirlwind of undeserved fortune.
While reading this book is a substantial investment of time, the sordid beauty of writing, as well as its unusual themes, made me feel as if my time was spent wisely. A great book for anyone interested in Japanese counter-culture!
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By C. Collins on June 4, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This dark tale, full of twists and turns, is the story of a successful 60 year old novelist who decides to seek revenge on the women who have betrayed him in love over the years. He selects as his weapon a beautiful young gay man. Whereas this sounds somewhat like Miss Havisham's revenge on males through the beautiful Estella in Charles Dicken's Great Expectations, Yuichi is far more vacant and far less a noble character than Estella. Estella recognized that she had been reared to be a beautiful monster and thus spurns Pip, the man she loves, and marries a monstrosity of a bully rich boy. Yuichi on the other hand marries a 19 year old girl and makes her life miserable by his nightly cruising in the underground Japanese gay scene. The attraction of age to beauty, the very defenselessness of humans in the face of overwhelming male beauty, the power of eros to undermine reason and wisdom, resonated with Thomas Mann's Death in Venice. The jungle dog-eat-dog world of the underground gay nightlife in Tokyo reminded me of the unsavory bitchy queens in Jean Genet's Our Lady of the Flowers, which fully describes the post-war gay underground in Paris. The book was full of homophobia, especially self destructive internalized homophobia. Gay characters are miseable, catty, competitive, and self-destructive. However Mishima makes his heterosexual characters just as miserable when faced with beauty that they cannot obtain. Mishima's writing style is unique, his use of language superb and shocking at times. However, as I finished page 400, I decided that the book could be shortened to 200 pages and possibly be an improved work of art.Read more ›
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Henry Platte on March 16, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is one of Mishima's more subdued novels. Although his trademark ideas about death, beauty and glory are present, it is more concerned with psychological study, and the view it takes is extremely bleak. He does an amazing job of portraying the shallowness and hypocrisy of a wide variety of people, from the pretentious and embittered author (who seems more than somewhat autobiographical) to the foppish members of the Japanese homosexual underground, and the flightly and neurotic women who are ruined (deservedly, you often feel) by the author's schemes. If that sort of thing depresses you, you're better off looking elsewhere. I enjoyed it, and sometimes found it very funny, but I would complain that the story seems to drag a little. These characters can't carry such a long story, since they are trapped by their vices and only become more and more pathetic. I would have been happy if it were about a hundred pages shorter. Also, I wouldn't look here for any profound insight into the nature of homosexuality; I don't think Mishima was really concerned with that, here or elsewhere. Homosexuality is a device used to expose flaws in society.
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