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Spring Snow (The Sea of Fertility) Paperback – March 11, 1999
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"[a] beautiful and austere tale... written in lush, languid prose, filled with beautiful sentences and turns of phrase, this is one of the most enjoyable books I have read this year" Reading Matters "Romantic obsession and sexual intrigue meet in the sumptuous historical melodrama" Variety "An austere love story, probably my favourite of his novels" -- David Mitchell Independent on Sunday "Mishima is the Japanese Hemingway" Life magazine "This tetralogy is considered one of Yukio Mishima's greatest works. It could also be considered a catalogue of Mishima's obsessions with death, sexuality and the samurai ethic. Spanning much of the 20th century, the tetralogy begins in 1912 when Shigekuni Honda is a young man and ends in the 1960s with Honda old and unable to distinguish reality from illusion. En route, the books chronicle the changes in Japan that meant the devaluation of the samurai tradition and the waning of the aristocracy." Washington Post
Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Japanese --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The writing is so beautiful, tragic and elegiac, amazingly visual, expressive, but not flowery or superfluous, best described as "thorny beauty" as was Kiyoaki's character. The author is an incredible writer, this book has extreme beauty and extreme ugliness, but somehow all expressed masterfully. A very very good read.
Since the novel is set in a particular historical period, the early Taisho era, at least a cursory knowledge of modern Japanese history is extremely helpful in understanding the tensions in the society of this period between traditional Japanese culture and the powerful forces of Westernization. (A good short history of this period is Ian Buruma's "Inventing Japan: 1853-1964.") "Spring Snow" is a historical novel, one that is as distant to a Japanese reader as it is to an American reader, and in the contrast between the characters of Marquis Matsugae, Kioyaki's pompous and rather dissolute father, and the Marquis's old mother, whose toughness and humble origins have not entirely been smoothed away by prosperity, one senses Mishima's interest in an age that was disappearing at the time of the novel's setting: 1912. I use the word "interest" rather than "nostalgia," because the other character who recalls an earlier age, Satoko's father, Count Ayakura, is so genteel, so utterly unconnected to the modern world around him, that he invites contempt. I enjoyed this novel very much (and am looking forward to reading the other novels in the "Sea of Fertility" tetralogy). However, I want to stress once more that a basic familiarity with Japanese history and places is enormously helpful and will increase your pleasure in this novel.
This is a love story with epic proportion, a story of tragic love. Spring Snow deals with romantic ideals. Kiyoaki, the main character, is proud, haughty and often childish - his life is one of privileged which is rapidly becoming more and more in question as pre WW II Japan emerges to a modern nation. The love which he works so hard to deny eventually consumes him. Along the way Kioaku tests friendships, his family, and the traditions which, in part, form him.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
She really loved the book. She did say that, because it's translated, there were some concepts lost in translation.Read more
I was cruising the clearance aisle of my local used book store when my eye was caught by a battered copy of “Spring Snow” first published in paperback in 1975.Read more