Thursday, February 8, 2007

Spring Snow

My introduction to Mishima came in the tautly composed The Sailor Who Fell From Grace with the Sea, a novel of nihilism and violence which unsettles the reader. On finishing the book of an evening, sleeplessness ensued. The bitterness of humanity glimpsed in the last pages left the stomach riddled with unease. Coming across Spring Snow in a bookstore I took it up to the counter, not knowing much about it. The young man at the counter had read it, and recommended it highly. Interestingly, he said it did not have the violent elements I expected. Violence is superseded by the piquancy of desire in the first book of the Sea of Fertility tetralogy.

Passion unfolds in a sensual frisson as the entanglement between aristocratic lovers Kiyoaki and Satoko engages the reader with its impossibility. Kiyoaki is a young man of delicate constitution. Spoilt by his family’s ascendancy and the misfortune of personal beauty he is characterized by capriciousness of feeling and action. His affection for Satoko paralyses him, and he treats her selfishly. Satoko, a beauty from an old and disempowered family receives advances of marriage from a royal suitor. Receiving no objection from Kiyoaki she pursues the elopement. Unfortunately, Kiyoaki’s lack of foresight lands the lovers in a compromising and doomed affair.

The novel left me with a desire to read more Mishima. Fortunately, I’m attending a Mishima play next week. I also plan to see a production of Pride and Prejudice. This week of theatre will be refreshing considering my lack of theatric entertainment of late.


Bybee said...

The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With The Sea: Ever since I first heard that title back in 1970-something, I've been bewitched by it.

acquisitionist said...

It is a mesmerising title- but quite a violent read.