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The Decay of the Angel (The Sea of Fertility #4)

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  1,649 ratings  ·  88 reviews
The dramatic climax of the SEA OF FERTILITY, bringing together the dominant themes of the three previous novels; the decay of Japan's courtly tradition and samurai ideal, and the essence and value of Buddhist philosophy.
Unknown Binding, 236 pages
Published January 1st 1990 by Random House (NY) (first published November 25th 1970)
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To be as honest as possible, I must run the risk of not making any sense: this is simultaneously my favorite and least favorite book in the series. Parts of it were hugely gorgeous -- the prose was pure and had an almost cleansing aura to it, and I felt alive while reading it. However, I wanted to strangle Mishima for writing some other parts that I felt were not only uncalled for but intentionally annoying to read (I'm looking at you, several descriptions of harbor boats). I know that Seidensti ...more
Wael Mahmoud
نهاية رائعة للرباعية, تيمة إختلال موازين القوى من تيماتي المفضلة. وتمثل هذه الرواية مع مسرحية الأنسة جوليا لسترندبرج وفيلم الخادم لجوزيف لوزي وسيناريو هارولد بنتر أفضل الأعمال التي قدمت هذه التيمة. الإختلاف بين الرواية من جهة والمسرحية والفيلم من جهة أخرى أن الشخصية التي تفقد مركز القوى في هذه الرواية - هوندا - واعية تماماً لما يحدث بل وتدفع في إتجاهه على عكس جوليا وتوني.

كينوي شخصية جذابة فهي تمثل الإنكار الجسدي والذي ترتب عليه بالضرورة الجنون في حين أن تورو يمثل الإنكار النفسي - أو الروحي - وبس
Michael Battaglia
Much like listening to Joy Division's "Closer", there's an inescapable feeling of finality when reading the last novel of the quartet that goes beyond simply it being the last novel. If you're at all interested in Mishima or the quartet, you're probably well aware that as soon as Mishima finished the novel, he went out, attempted to stage a coup that failed miserably and then committed a ritual suicide, all of which made perfect sense to him in his worldview but don't seem entirely like the acts ...more
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Sarah Magdalene
Just finished Decay of Angel. I haven't even met the Angel yet (still waiting for Spring Snow to arrive) and he is already decayed. This final novel of Mishimas is sparse but fascinating. It is easy to imagine him deciding that he had had enough by the end of it. There is so much weariness, so much pain, and so much bitterness too. How well he knew the human condition by this stage. Too well I think. Too much awareness is never an easy burden to bear but without it you can't be a great writer. O ...more
Mar 25, 2012 Kirstie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kirstie by: Rory
This is really more like a 4 1/2 star novel..but of course Goodreads is a bit limiting at times. In any case, I was really intrigued when I found out that Mishima had committed ritual suicide after this one. There is a great deal more of depth and much less innocence than The Sound of Waves (had you not guessed that by the title, though? I mean, really!) There is also a great deal about the sea and waves in this one nonetheless and parallels with humans and angels. There is madness, delusions, y ...more
Yukio Mishima's The Decay of the Angel is the last volume of his “Sea of Fertility”. It is also the last book he wrote. On November 25, 1970 he sent the manuscript off to the publisher, then went to incite the soldiers of Japan's military headquarters to a coup d'etat. When he failed, he committed seppuku. As might be expected, The Decay of the Angel contains much that that relates to Mishima's dissatisfaction with life, and the cosmic nihilism that he promised would be the ultimate theme of the ...more
I really don't know where to start with this. As a novel, it is in so many ways, uneven, laden with clunky symbolism, and the truly embarrassing conceit of “and now, I'm going to be EVIL!!!”

And yet, carried by Mishima's graceful prose, it works. And it contains some killer parts, a wonderful monologue by an embittered old lady, and a weird, floaty, elliptical ending that draws in like the closing scene in an Antonioni film. Despite some rather lame premises, Mishima is still able to subvert the
This starts off kind of slow, and Mishima spends a lot of time boggled down with bleak, repetitious descriptions of Toru's ship-watching job juxtaposed with Honda as he enters old age. But eventually, things pick up and suddenly your flung into the middle of a psycho-sexual triangle coupled on top of the cat and mouse game of wounded aesthetic reveries between an old man and his chosen disciple. They don't really confront each other as much as their morbid, damaged, gorgeously rendered reveries ...more
Ismael Galvan
I finally did it. I finished Mishima's Sea of Fertility series, the most philosophically twisted series ever written. This final book is the thorny crown gouged into the king's head.

Honda discovers a young man he believes to be the reincarnation of his friend. Somehow Honda adopts the boy and anguishes over his expected death at age 20. Things don't go as Honda hoped to foresee them.

Mishima committed suicide immediately after this book was completed. I had to wonder what was the state of his min
The Sea of Fertility by Yukio Mishima

“The most complete vision we have of Japan in the twentieth century.”
-Paul Theroux

On the morning of November 25th 1970, the three-time Nobel nominee and 45 year old Yukio Mishima (the pen name of Hiraoka Kimitake) finished The Decay of the Angel, the final book in his seminal Sea of Fertility tetralogy. It was published into the world much akin to John Kennedy Tool's A Confederacy of Dunces: as renowned for its literary me...more The Sea of Fertility by Yuki
Patrick McCoy
The final installment of Yukio Mishima’s Sea of Fertility teratology is Decay Of The Angel . There is a curious end to the story that refutes most of what has come before. This novel concerns the adoption of Toru by Honda, who believes Toru is the third incarnation of Kioyaki. There are some curious developments as Toru develops a cruel streak for no apparent reason than the fact he is something of a nihilist. Honda falls into his voyeuristic ways and faces a public scandal that allows Toru to g ...more
Cel Red
La traducción es más bien mala. Las descripciones llegan a ser excesivas. El principio es muy lento. Y creo que es un libro denso.

Y me encantó.

Salvando los detalles de esta traducción, porque era mala, los diálogos estaban mal hechos y resultaban confusos, el libro es bastante bueno. Tuve que leer varias partes dos o tres veces, ya fueran descripciones porque era necesario saborear cada detallito de la ola y del mar, o de los discursos y reflexiones, para terminar más o menos de entender qué pas
Alex Pler
"La memoria es como un espejo espectral. A veces muestra cosas demasiado lejanas para ser vistas y a veces las revela como si estuvieran aquí."
Por cosas que pasan por el camino me ha costado horrores acabarlo.

A falta de una reseña más detallada, es un libro muy recomendable para quienes les guste la literatura que se apoya en el estilo, les gusten las formas culturalmente chocantes de escribir y, dando un voto de confianza a los traductores, crean que se puede apreciar otra cultura en el filtro de la traducción.

Aviso: no puede leerse fuera del contexto de toda la serie. Así que a quien le interese y no sepa nada del Mar de la Fertilid
Îngerul decăzut (trad. Andreea Sion) este romanul care încheie tetralogia Marea fertilităţii, de Yukio Mishima, o suită de cărţi infuzate de budism şi shoturi de nihilism, care include, în afară de titlul deja anunţat, Zăpadă de primăvară, Cai în galop şi Templul zorilor. Toate patru au fost publicate la Editura Humanitas Fiction, în colecţia Raftul Denisei.

Yukio Mishima s-a sinucis în chiar ziua în care a pus punct acestui roman, pe 25 noiembrie 1970. E imposibil să omiţi asta, oricum ai alege
The Decay of the Angel, the last book in Mishima's epic tetralogy, is more like a chamber play in comparison with the other books. While each book is different in style, this last one again is still different from the others; it is more impressionistic and more existential in tone. I didn’t appreciate this translation, though Seidensticker is supposedly very competent - and it may indeed be competent, but I still often found it lacking in flow and immediacy. That is the one major drawback with t ...more
The darkest, emotionally sickest book I've ever read. There's not a happy thing about it, but not in the self-flattering tortured artist way, this is true true misery, and the author gutted himself with a long knife only hours after finishing this, the last volume of his tetralogy The Sea of Fertility.
Samuel Mustri
Here comes the last part, which is a real culmination of the tetralogy.
What was the final point of this last work, over 1500 pages long? If Mishima didn't want to talk about the ideals that he supposedly held, what did he want to express?

It is intellectually stimulating, highly mystical and very personal. Is it also very sad and pessimistic. It is a book about death and nihilism. Main characters are brilliant. It is of course Honda - the man of Reason, who is more real and attractive and compl
Yeah. There was a moment during the sort of false denouement of Decay of the Angel where I was sort of unsure how this was all going to come together. But the final 50+ pages of the story did a very beautiful and elegant job of bringing it back around, to great effect.
Todos los cabos son atados.
Lo bueno de la tetralogía es que no necesariamente hay que leerlos del I al IV, para captar su belleza.
Last chapter basically put you in the main character's shoes. A terrifying moment.
Because of the ending I give this a 5/5.

The first book was about ennui and being afraid of the truth and the anguish that can come from it.
The second book was about fervent devotion, delusion, and the madness that come from them.
The third book was about voyeurism and obsession and the shame that can come from them.
The fourth book was about forcing fate and inflated expectations and the disappointment that can come
Kevin Farran
My favorite work by Mishima. A talent rarely appreciated.
Our resident voyeur, Honda, who we have seen at 20, 40 and 60 years of age, is now 80 and rather bitter. A rich widower hanging out in Europe and Japan with the elegant, Westernised lesbian, Keiko. Where is the reincarnation of his old friend Kiyoaki Matsugae now? Could it really be this bright young boor working in the signal house? I'm afraid my reactions while reading this last part of the titanic Sea of Fertility tetralogy veered wildly between annoyance and exhilaration. There was a nice se ...more
After the ungodly mess that was The Temple of Dawn, I took a break from the Sea of Fertility and it was with a weary hand that I picked up this last instalment of it. Mishima seems to have awakened from the bizarre frenzy that regurgitated the Temple of Dawn and returned to a more coherent narrative although his disillusion with life and the prospect of aging permeates throughout.

Was, first of all, Toru the last incarnation of Kiyoaki Matsugae? Did Keiko through her blunt revelations unwittingl
Fiona Robson
“Yukio Mishima’s The Decay of the Angel is the final novel in his masterful tetralogy, The Sea of Fertility. It is the last installment of Shigekuni Honda’s pursuit of the successive reincarnations of his childhood friend Kiyoaki Matsugae.

It is the late 1960s and Honda, now an aged and wealthy man, once more encounters a person he believes to be a reincarnation of his friend, Kiyoaki — this time restored to life as a teenage orphan, Tōru. Adopting the boy as his heir, Honda quickly finds that Tō
Yukio Mishima's final work is a blistering condemnation of modern Japanese society, old age, intellectual vanity, and most curiously, of Yukio Mishima himself. It's light on plot, telling a rather simple story rather curtly. Here, the primacy concern is tying up of themes and loose ends.

Here also is the exegesis of suicide that I had been dreading to read. Though, surprisingly, through Keiko's imposition of the act on Tōru (the final reincarnation of Kiyoaki Matsugae, maybe), we see the lionized
Perry Whitford
Feb 17, 2013 Perry Whitford rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Misanthropes of all nationalities.
The Decay of the Angel is the last part in a tetralogy of novels collectively known as The Sea of Fertility quartet. It was also Mishima's last novel before he took the extraordinary decision to ritually disembowel himself, samurai style, as a statement of disgust at what he perceived as the decadence of modern Japan. There are five signs of the decay of angels in Buddhist scrip, amongst them a dimming of their light and soiling of their robes, and most interestingly a loss of self awareness; th ...more
Luis González
After almost a year, I finished Mishima's tetralogy. And oh my, it went out with a bang (this would be the bad joke cue if Mishima had shot himself instead of committing seppuku). This is a book which perfectly reflects Mishima's state of mind before his suicide: Japan as a ruin, as a fraud. I can't help but remembering my time there and thinking of the bygone glories which would be replaced with that big pile of artificiuousness, of showcasing, of shiny signs and sad, exhausted men drinking bee ...more
I have loved reading Mishima's tetralogy, and this fourth and last book is brilliant - and different again from each of the previous volumes. The ending took me back a bit, and I need to go back and read the whole thing (this time I was engrossed in the story and its outcome rather than thinking about too much). Interesting coincidence to be reading John Burnside's I Put A Spell On You at the same time, as its ending complements that of Decay.
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  • Some Prefer Nettles
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Yukio Mishima (三島 由紀夫) is the pen name of Kimitake Hiraoka (平岡 公威) who was a Japanese author, poet and playwright, famous for both his highly notable post-war writings and the circumstances of his ritual suicide by seppuku.

Mishima wrote 40 novels, 18 plays, 20 books of short stories, and at least 20 books of essays, one libretto, as well as one film. A large portion of this oeuvre comprises books
More about Yukio Mishima...

Other Books in the Series

The Sea of Fertility (4 books)
  • Spring Snow
  • Runaway Horses
  • The Temple of Dawn
The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea Spring Snow Confessions of a Mask The Temple of the Golden Pavilion The Sound of Waves

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“كل ما لديه حقاً كان شعوراً جارفاً بالحماقة وبالابتذال, وقد ذاب متحولاً إلى رتابة. كم هي هائلة تجليات العادي والمبتذل! ابتذال التأنق, ابتذال العاج, ابتذال القداسة, ابتذال الجنون, ابتذال ذوي المعرفة الواسعة, ابتذال الأكاديمي المدعي, الابتذال المغناج, ابتذال القطة الفارسية, ابتذال الملوك والشحاذين والمعتوهين والفراشات.” 42 likes
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