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After the Banquet

3.69  ·  Rating Details ·  1,382 Ratings  ·  79 Reviews
For years Kazu has run her fashionable restaurant with a combination of charm and shrewdness. But when the she falls in love with one of her clients, an aristocratic retired politician, she renounces her business in order to become his wife. But it is not so easy to renounce her independent spirit, and eventually Kazu must choose between her marriage and the demands of her ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published March 11th 1999 by Vintage Classics (first published 1960)
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Nandakishore Varma
Politics meant pretending to step out to the men's room and then completely disappearing, forcing a man's back to the wall while cheerfully sharing the same fire, making a show of laughter when one is angry or flying into a rage when one is not in the least upset, sitting for a long time without saying a word, quietly flicking specks of dust off one's sleeve... in short, acting very much like a geisha.


This is the world Kazu, the redoubtable middle-aged female protagonist of this novel by Yukio M
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umberto
Nov 27, 2015 umberto rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, japan
If one would like to read "After the Banquet" by Yukio Mishima for romantic or sensational scenes, this novel might be disappointing since he has portrayed a formidable lady named Kazu, the proprietress of the Setsugoan, in her years of age "over fifty" (p. 7) whose fate leads her to meet a retired elderly, "over sixty" (p. 76), politician and ambassador named Noguchi. Their first meeting is at her distinguished restaurant in Tokyo when there is an annual meeting of the Kagen Club where Noguchi ...more
Speranza
Aug 06, 2016 Speranza rated it liked it
Shelves: personal-library
Well-written boredom.
Sarah Magdalene
Sep 05, 2010 Sarah Magdalene rated it it was amazing
After The Banquet....hahaha! I was reading this one just after the election which was appropriate seeing as it all about politics, and about marriage. Mishima is good at describing the hell that is marriage. He knows exactly how it all works. He understands women extremely well and his women characters are always surprising, usually very powerful and always palpably real. The heroine of this tale Kazu is a formidable self made woman and a great natural politician.
"Some curious blessing of heaven
...more
Lobstergirl
Oct 21, 2013 Lobstergirl rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lobstergirl by: Javous Nicks
Shelves: fiction

Mishima uses many evocative and beautiful similes and metaphors.

The phrases from Kazu's lips - "reform of the prefectural administration," "positive policies to combat unemployment," and the like - plummeted to the ground like swarms of winged ants which have lost the strength of their wings, but the words visible on the lips of the crowd dripped like red meat in the sunshine. Old people out for a walk and leaning on their sticks, smugly respectable housewives, little girls in bare-shouldered b
...more
David
May 26, 2011 David rated it really liked it
Shelves: big-red-circle
It's Mishima's book about old people! And he's much kinder than I would have thought. All the men are fairly craggy (there's not a hint of the blueness of shaved collar lines), but they and their world are treated with sensitivity and interest. He pokes fun at their self-importance, rituals and politics but doesn't stoop to being too rude about the way they masticate ("Thirst for Love") or their bodies (poor old Honda and his shrivelled white bean in "Decay of the Angel").

In fact, Kazu feels rep
...more
Sincerae Smith
I read Yukio Mishima's achingly romantic The Sound of Waves years ago. This is the second novel of his I've read.

After the Banquet is sort of the antithesis of The Sound of Waves. The main characters are a middle aged restaurant owner and an elderly retired aristocratic politician. Kazu is a rather unconventional female for a traditional society like Japan. She is a lively, energetic, pretty and plump middle aged woman. She never married and is the rather affluent owner of a restaurant which ca
...more
Tony
Apr 13, 2016 Tony rated it really liked it
AFTER THE BANQUET. (1963). Yukio Mishima. ****1/2.
Mishima has written an excellent novel that sums up the differences between two approaches to life in modern day Japan. The two central characters are Kazu, the owner and director of a nightclub and conference center, the Setsugoan Restaurant, and Mr. Noguchi, an aristocrat and intellectual, and once a cabinet minister. In terms of their personalities, they are diametrically opposite: Kazu is a woman blazing with life, who acts instinctively base
...more
Ismael Galvan
Apr 26, 2014 Ismael Galvan rated it really liked it
Just about everything Mishima writes will grip you. He is able to write masterfully about politics, death, sex, metaphysics, etc. He can do it all except comedy (although some aspects are funny in dark ways). This time its marriage.

It's a solid novel about two opposite getting hitched. One is a super old school politician with a stick up his ass; the other is self-made, free spirited women. Obviously, they're fucked from the get go, and the novel revolves around this disintegration against the b
...more
Jude
Oct 16, 2015 Jude rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
It is the third book by Mishima I have read so far and I still enjoy his writing very much.
I enjoyed the first part of the book a lot. Reading about this very independant woman, Kazu and how she opens her heart to Mr. Nogucho was beautiful. However, when politics came into play, I wasn't as enthusiastic. Politics here are only an excuse to talk about marriage, about life and death. Becaus yes, Kazu is obsessed with death. Where will she rest when she dies? Why are these all people always speakin
...more
Gertrude & Victoria
Jul 11, 2009 Gertrude & Victoria rated it really liked it
Shelves: japanese-library
After the Banquet is in one sense, a damning statement of the political - the political apparatus, and the political nature innate in human beings. It is also a broader social indictment of the period in which Mishima lived. This story is partially based on factual events which occurred in his time. Noguchi, a former government official, keen on spending the remainder of his days quietly, meets an independent and ambitious woman. They marry and she persuades him to run for a high level post in t ...more
Zen Cho
Apr 15, 2009 Zen Cho rated it liked it
Interestingly observed clash of personalities in a marriage. Reading this was sometimes helped by imagining the stern, dignified husband possessed of noble ideals as Kuchiki Byakuya, but sometimes not .... The problem with this was mainly that thing you get when you are reading a book from outside your culture, where you don't know what the narrative conventions are or what's supposed to happen next or what characters' reactions mean. There is a sometimes pleasing, sometimes alienating incompreh ...more
Kumi
Apr 01, 2013 Kumi rated it it was amazing
My image about the author as a young student was an extremist and Rightist who committed suicide in public, and I was never interested in his books before. Having read my first book by him, however, I must admit that my image of him was built all based on misunderstanding and prejudice. "After the Banquet" is the most beautifully written story I have ever read in Japanese to date. His language and expressions blew my mind. It's vivid but not aggressive, subtle but strong. And it is filled with h ...more
Lia
Oct 04, 2015 Lia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kazu è tale e non può evitare di esserlo; “c'è da chiedersi”, però, “se non si sbagliasse nell’insistere ad accendere il fuoco intorno alla pacifica esistenza del marito”. Già nella personalità della protagonista di Yukio Mishima la nota più originale è data da una coscienza desiderosa e bisognosa di veri e propri entusiasmi: come se attraverso il desiderio e il bisogno di nuove prove, opposti desideri di compagnia trovassero una certa possibilità di soluzione. - See more at: http://www.mangiali ...more
Tosh
May 07, 2008 Tosh rated it it was amazing
A Yukio Mishima classic about the backroom deals in Business and culture that is also a great and classic look how Japanese culture does what it does. But filtered via the eyes of Mishima.
Saskia
Oct 18, 2013 Saskia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Endlich mal ein japanisches Buch, was nicht so schlecht und seicht ist, wie die anderen.....
William
Jan 27, 2014 William rated it really liked it
Death figures heavily in the writing of Yukio Mishima, as even a casual reader knows. However, his 1960 novel, "After the Banquet," does not fit so neatly into the complete body of work.

Mishima himself grouped his novels into two categories - pièces noires and pièces roses, of which "After the Banquet" falls in the former category. It has a female protagonist and dashes of humor, and it displays an advanced and detached understanding of contemporary Japanese domestic politics. And its stance on
...more
Pete
Oct 10, 2016 Pete rated it really liked it
Machiavellian people are evil and conniving. Yes, they do know emphaty, but only from afar, and see it as a weakness. This definition, we know, is a misinterpretation. Yet, it's difficult to conjure goodness and the practices described in The Prince together. But it is possible. This novel is the proof.

Corrina
Sep 29, 2016 Corrina rated it really liked it
Like The Temple of the Golden Pavilion, this is a fine balance between Mishima's gorgeous prose and his ability to write with efficiency and suspense. Another fine psychological study, this time with a strong female protagonist. Thoroughly enjoyable, less emotionally draining than most Mishima, and deeply satisfying.
David Morin
Mar 10, 2013 David Morin rated it really liked it
Mishima has always fascinated me and I'm glad I'm finally getting around to reading his work. The novel is centered around two individuals: the protagonist Kazu, proprietress of a popular Tokyo restaurant; and Noguchi, a retired Radical Party politician. Kazu falls in love with Noguchi and vows to return him to political power when he decides to run for governor of Tokyo. Their disparate personalities--Kazu's relentless ambition and concern for social status, and Noguchi's quiet intellectualism ...more
Damon
Jan 30, 2016 Damon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For those who are familiar with Mishima only through his political role in modern Japanese history, this nuanced, elegantly-written book may feel a touch incongruous. Some of the deeper themes of his work and personal philosophy are found among the many layers of his story.

On its face, this is the story of a woman (Kazu) who finds herself trying to balance the responsibilities to her spouse with being true to her own inclinations as well as the balance of the self versus that of accepting her r
...more
Jesus Flores
Este libro es una maravillosa forma de ver varias cosas.

Por un lado un romance de dos personas, de situaciones, costumbres y formas de ser muy distintas. Ambos buscan lo mismo, alguien con quien pasar la vida que les queda, encontrar cariño ante la soledad que tienen. Solo que buscan distintas cosas en la persona que les acompañara en sus dias.

Observamos tambien el metodo de llevar elecciones en el libro, y como las personalidades distintas de ambos los llevaran a replantearse el que quieren y c
...more
César
Jan 06, 2013 César rated it really liked it
After the Banquet is difficult to contextualize in the company of Mishima's other notable works. On the surface it is a love story tucked into an exploration of dirty Japanese politics in the post-war, one-party era. In its heart, perhaps, it's another sharp-tongued social critique whose themes and goals would later find full-expression in Runaway Horses.

Kazu is among Mishima's more memorable characters and it is worth reading this book for her alone. There are many significant themes which Mish
...more
Katherine
Feb 21, 2013 Katherine rated it it was amazing
This novel is Mishima's meditation on marriage, middle-age, and what it means to be yourself. Kazu is the successful owner of a restaurant. She is outgoing, charming, and is successful due entirely to hard work and her won merits. She is one of the most likeable Mishima characters I have ever encountered.

The novel follows Kazu as she meets and marries a retired ambassador. Kazu and Noguchi are so unalike that there are some inevitable conflicts. Kazu tries very hard to be both business owner and
...more
Eugenia Turculet
Aug 19, 2013 Eugenia Turculet rated it it was amazing
"Cand ma gandesc ca in anii care au trecut increderea dumitale in oameni a fost greu zdruncinata, ca in loc de liniste sufleteasca ai gasit numai nesiguranta, in loc de fericire numai amaraciune, in loc de dragoste ai castigat doar experienta, ca ai sfarsit acolo unde voiai sa incepi si incepi acum unde ai crezut ca toate s-au sfarsit- si cand ma gandesc ca toate sacrificiile dumitale ti-au adus in schimb numai neliniste si incertitudini, ei bine, sa stii ca nu gasesc in mine compatimire pentru ...more
Carla Patterson
Jan 01, 2014 Carla Patterson rated it it was amazing
One of the most poetic and least violent of Mishima's translated novels. Told from the point of view of the main character, a woman who has spent her entire life as a geisha, pleasing others. In the telling of her story as she looks back over her life from retirement age, the reader is taken on a journey through the major aspects of culture and society in Japan. How gender, class, and caste affect everything an individual experiences and how basically impossible it is to move from one part of so ...more
Nina
Mar 17, 2016 Nina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: asian-lit, classics
Don't believe the blurb, since I thought this would be love story (of sorts), but it isn't. This is about politics and ambition.

Kazu didn't strike me as a particularly romantic woman, but there were moments in the book that made me think she might just have affection for Noguchi. And so that is the extent of whatever romance was in the book. I didn't mind.

I enjoyed this book. Politics may not be my cup of tea but I can appreciate social commentary, and I think this is what is in After the Banq
...more
Theut
Jan 26, 2015 Theut rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
La paura della morte "solitaria", dell'avere una tomba dimenticata da tutti, può spingere una persona piena di energie a illudersi e a pensarsi innamorata di qualcuno tanto diverso da lei?
Succede a Kazu che intravede la realizzazione del suo sogno quando incontra Noguchi. E' vero amore? O solo il bisogno di buttarsi a capofitto in una nuova avventura? Kazu vive di emozioni e di adrenalina; non sempre particolarmente simpatico come personaggio (frigna sempre!), si riscatta prendendo una decisione
...more
Alfonso Salgado
Dec 30, 2012 Alfonso Salgado rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Una visión muy interesante sobre la política japonesa en la segunda mitad del siglo XX, que nos muestra lo universal de las prácticas que nos aquejan y que asumimos como creaciones locales. Los personajes están magistralmente dibujados, y es difícil tomar partido por alguno de los protagonistas en el conflicto principal. La narrativa es bastante diferente a lo que estoy acostumbrado, con un narrador semi omnisciente que en ocasiones da información de más y a veces comparte demasiado poco, y... O ...more
Philippa Mary
Jun 20, 2016 Philippa Mary rated it liked it
3.5 - this was my first book by Mishima. I enjoyed it - I enjoyed the descriptions of the characters and think the book contains an interesting look into human nature. I enjoyed the look into politics and ambition. It was also interesting to see this deceptively complex woman forge her way through a sexist society (this was written in the 60s). Although the characters are interesting, I didn't particularly like any of them and I didn't feel particularly captivated by the story. It was good but n ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Change book data almost totaly 4 36 Jul 15, 2013 07:26AM  
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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
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“Young people get the foolish idea that what is new for them must be new for everybody else too. No matter how unconventional they get, they're just repeating what others before them have done.” 115 likes
“Kazu, now that she thought of it, realized that for all her headstrong temperament, she had never loved a man younger than herself. A young man has such a surplus of spiritual and physical gifts that he is likely to be cocksure of himself, particularly when dealing with an older woman, and there is no telling how swelled up with self-importance he may become. Besides, Kazu felt a physical repugnance for youth. A woman is more keenly aware than a man of the shocking disharmony between a young man's spiritual and physical qualities, and Kazu had never met a young man who wore his youth well. She was moreover repelled by the sleekness of a young man's skin.” 3 likes
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