Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Yukio Mishima's "Spring Snow"

Just got done reading Yukio Mishima's "Spring Snow" and I'd highly recommend it to anyone else.

I first became acquainted with Mishima through a movie of the same name which dramatized his life story. Though it has been years since I last saw the movie, I found a copy of the first book of his Sea Of Fertility tetralogy, Spring Snow, at a local used bookstore.

Spring Snow centers around Kiyoaki Matsugae, a young man living in 1918 Japan. The book takes a lot of its themes and characters from Mishima's life, so I'd recommend reading a little bio of him before hand. His characters are well developed, but the narrative always moves forward. He focuses any passages exploring a character's feelings and thoughts to the exclusion of others, even if they are in the same scene. The visual descriptions of the places his characters inhabit so beautiful that I wish I could read them in the original Japanese. They're employed with great skill to establish the emotional tone of the scene or to foreshadow things to come. Like a zen garden, everything in the book is in its place; nothing is extraneous or wasted.

Im already anxiously working my way through the second novel of the tetrology, Runaway Horses. I've got the both the movie and Spring Snow if anyone wants to borrow it.


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