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Thirst for Love

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  2,571 ratings  ·  248 reviews
After the early death of her philandering husband, Etsuko moves into her father-in-law's house, where she numbly submits to the old man's advances. But soon she finds herself in love with the young servant Saburo. Tormented by his indifference, yet invigorated by her desire, she makes her move, with catastrophic consequences.
Paperback, 208 pages
Published December 10th 2009 by Vintage Classics (first published June 30th 1950)
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Average rating 3.73  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,571 ratings  ·  248 reviews

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Jan 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: にほん, kimitake

A pair of woollen socks! The solitary blue- brown image lingered in my pathetic thoughts, weeks after I had closed down the book. Verses had angrily left me, words refused to find a refuge within my wits and leisurely Mishima’s manuscript had melted into an obscure viscosity leaving behind only the recurring images of a mystified Etsuko and the pair of socks. For weeks I lived with that graphic, gaudily enhancing as the night darkened with every passing hour. How could a harmless pair of socks
Jr Bacdayan
What is it that prompts us to love? Is it something we have no say in, helplessly falling to its schemes unaware of its happening or is it something we push ourselves into like a drug we so insanely search for. Is it truly a person that is the object of our affection and insanity or is it merely an independent feeling we cultivate in us and then attach to the person most convenient?

Thirst for Love is a shattering depiction of self-depravity. Etsuko is a broken woman beyond repair, hunted by the
Sarah Magdalene
Jan 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really odd coincidence in a way that I picked up this novel last night. I was so stunned by it that I wrote a review straight away. I wasn't going to type it up till later but then I got so annoyed by reading the retarded reviews on Amazon I decided to do it now, while coffeed up. People are such stupid pods, just because they actually read books doesn't seem to make them sensitive or intelligent. Most of them completely missed the subtleties...maybe because most of the reviewers on Amazon are ...more
Khashayar Mohammadi
Tradition vs Modernity
Masculinity vs Femininity
Old vs New
Pride vs Zeal
Fear vs Necessity

and the splash of Blood that paints it all.
Barry Pierce
Mishima followed up Confessions of a Mask with a book that was purposefully completely different. From the first-person coming of age tale of a young queer man to a third-person story of a woman who is lusted after by her dead husband's father. It's a departure in every sense.

This book is far too conventional for Mishima. It doesn't seem to include any of his trademarks and any trace of the Mishima we know and adore seems to be missing here. The novel itself is fine. The story trundles along
Apr 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: big-red-circle
I wasn't really feeling this until the scene at the shrine festival, where something cracks and the story falls into place as Saburo mans up and gets sexy. Before then, vague Etsuko appears to be lusting after a pre-pubescent half-wit.

I thought Etsuko came through the story rather well, considering everything that happens to her. I assume she's the defence's star witness when Mishima is accused of misogyny? When Saburo said "I love you" to avoid an awkward conversation, I thought "the dumb cow's
Samir Rawas Sarayji
Apr 13, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, japanese-lit
Thirst for Love is a powerful psychological narrative and, sadly, a technically flawed book. The choices and overall execution by the author destroy what could have been a haunting, memorable antihero. To start off with, Mishima’s omniscient point of view in this book makes no sense. The focus shifts constantly between the narrator and Etsuko—the protagonist—with occasional random shifts to other characters that really does not add any substance.

Then there are the triple-layered Etsuko
May 22, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japan
That was intense. Hard to believe he wrote it in his early twenties, although you can see that he expanded upon a lot of elements in his later books: the frailty, hysteria, and ease of manipulation of women; the youthful and masculine man who is adored by these women and in a position to use them for his own gain; and the older man, manipulating the feelings felt by others for his own gain. See Forbidden Colours, published a couple years later.

As usual with Mishima, one of the most significant
Sep 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Yukio Mishima committed ritualistic suicide or seppuku shortly after I returned home from Vietnam in 1970. It made an enormous impact on me. Why would a man in the prime of his life and on the verge of winning the Nobel Prize for literature kill himself? It is a question I continue to ponder.

I have read most of his books since then and love them. This is one I had not read yet.

Here he is speaking about dying for a cause:

Here he is speaking in English, a
Fulya İçöz
May 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Guillermo Galvan
Thirst for Love has the tragedy of Shakespeare, the romantic scandal of a soap opera, and the brutality of a back alley stabbing.

I was hesitant about reading this book because a lot of reviewers underscored it, claiming he was too young when he wrote it. It isn't his best work, but it's still damn good.

Thirst for Love is a masterful portrayal of insane jealousy taking place in a psychologically suffocating environment. Read this book if you have an interest in emotionally disturbing literature.

J.M. Hushour
Jul 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"An overpowering, corrupting spirit seemed to hold her in invisible chains."

A dark and disturbing novel, even for Mishima who can elevate the dark and disturbing to beautiful heights. He may have reached the heights of that here, in one of his earlier novels.
A young widow, whose husband's last feverish days saw her in utter ecstasies watching him die, moves in with her father-in-law's family, has sex with the father-in-law and covets the simple-minded farmboy that works in the house. And that's
Sep 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
After reading a couple of books by Yasunari Kawabata, I thought I'll read a book by Yukio Mishima. I picked 'Thirst for Love'.

First a few words on Yukio Mishima. Mishima was one of the great Japanese writers of the twentieth century. He was also one of the most handsome. He wrote many books, including novels and plays. His most famous books are probably 'The Temple of the Golden Pavilion' and 'The Sea of Fertility' tetralogy, which is regarded as his magnum opus. He was expected to win the Nobel
Nabilah Firdaus
Depressing tale of Etsuko, a widow who just lost her husband who didn’t love her, where she subsequently submits numbly to her father in law’s desire for her but soon find herself in love with her young servant, Saburo. A tale of love, jealousy, overwhelming destructive human desire.

My first Yukio Mishima and damn, that was one hell of a read. The messages and symbolism of the story are almost perfect considering that this book was written in Mishima’s early 20s. Very violent and disturbing
Apr 03, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Mishima presents the story of a young Japanese widow who is the mistress of her father-in-law; he does so in oppressive naturalistic prose, jealousy dominates the householding. The stress is on the in-depth psychological description, especially towards the end: for each spoken sentence Mishima offers a page of description of the emotions and the circumstances. I read this very long ago. At the time it didn't spoke that much to me, but I suspect it would now; it's on my to be re-read list. (2.5 ...more
Aug 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great Yukio Mishima.....once more has been overflown with astonishing feelings.....
Jan 18, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, japan
Reading this "Thirst for Love" by Yumiko Mishima was mysteriously disappointing as compared to his "The Temple of the Golden Pavilion" or "The Sea of Fertility," the romance-cum-tragedy tetralogy. However,"Death in Midsummer and Other Stories" is not included here due to its different genre. One of the reasons, I think, is that I found reading both uniquely enjoyable and kept in mind as his admirable standard but, contrasively, I kept reading this novel, nothing touching or sentimental perceived ...more
Beverlee Jobrack
I think Mishima is a powerful writer--his imagery and cadence. He writes in prose poetry. But I had trouble connecting with the people in the novel and found it difficult to sympathize or care about them. I wanted to feel the sympathetic humiliation of the infidelity of Etsuko's husband and her relationship with her father in law, but I could not. She was so restrained yet seething, so alone, but unsympathetic. Is this a metaphor for Japan after the war? A thought provoking book but difficult to ...more
Descending Angel
May 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japanese, mishima
Early Mishima. I'm a big fan of Mishima, one of my favorite writers and it was really interesting to read this and see how he grew from writing this to writing The Sea Of Fertility. It's a short book, barely making it to 200 pages and obviously the writing isn't as confident or beautiful as his later work but it is a good story and i really didn't see that ending coming for some reason and it fit well. Looking forward to reading the rest of his work.
Jan 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
I actually not favor that much a plot about culture and moral cause I tend to get easily bored but this story really got me interested, somehow. I love the characters and elaboration of each, great descriptions on events and incidents, and I think the main character Etsuko really been characterized well by the author. Her thoughts and feelings were written nicely-- descriptive and deep although at certain point it can be seen as pointless and lengthy but I think Etsuko's psychological view ...more
May 04, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, asian-lit
This book was very slow paced and uneventful but I can see some special ambiance about
Asian literature. This book also had it and I loved that. This book describes daily life of a Japanese family, it's triviality and depth of human tragedy. I didn't see the end coming, I thought it would end in a similar fashion but (view spoiler)
Feb 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Undoubtedly a powerful story but it all seemed to be from another time and place and as a result it made the characters hard to relate to. Etsuko's increasing psychosis as she spirals into despair is a stark contrast to the aloofness of Saburo. My first longer story by Mishima and this one didn't scratch quite the same itch as his short stories, I look forward to trying again with Spring Snow.
Feb 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nobody even imagines how well one can lie about the state of one’s own heart
holy crap, Tim. thanks for picking this book. I loved it from start to finish. I highlighted half the thing.

it's very subtle in some ways--interpersonal relationships and very deliberate in others. it made me think of haiku's and do some research on form of haiku. this book felt like one giant haiku to me. the juxtaposition of two starkly contrasting images. etsuko and her husband, the hospital. etsuko and yakichi, rural living. miyo and saburo, simple animals. the city and the country.
Will Deyo
Jun 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
A rather sad tale of a young widow in post WWII Japan. Her unhappy marriage (due to her husband's chronic infidelity) ends with his sudden death. After he dies, she moves from Tokyo to live in his family's compound in a suburb of Osaka where she begins an affair with his father while also falling in love with a young servant who is completely unaware of her feelings. The book was well written, but I found the story somewhat flat at times. However, there was an incredible twist at the end which I ...more
I like a lot this book.
I especially appreciate the character of Etsuko, who seems, at first, to be a victim (living away from the city and having to live with her late husband's family, forced to have sex with her father-in-law and so on) whereas she is not a victim at all.
I loved the way Mishima wrote how she was delirious happy when she understood that her husband was dying, and how she is mean with Saburo's girlfriend.
The ending of the book is very good. The way how Etsuko reacts to what she
Chinara Ahmadova
Sep 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Started with such a long and drastical story that I was even thinking of dropping because of long description on Esuke's lust and passion... But the shrine festival scene changed my mind and my feelings towards her horrific desire to "own" person or heart. Mishima-san should have known woman heart so well when he wrote that novel at his 25.
Jan 19, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

i just finished this and i feel really dizzy. the ending has me at a loss for words. etsuko, as a character was very well written.

while this book, literarily, was very good, it seemed to drawl on and on and on. etsuko's inner musings overlapped each other and i felt lost. i only was on the 'edge of my seat' so to say, by the last 40 pages...
Apr 19, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I wasn't surprised by the ending. why? because the back cover of the French version I was reading clearly tells you what happens in the end, as in up to the last 2 pages!! who does that? bad bad publishing house (folio)! totally ruined the book for me!
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Yukio Mishima (三島 由紀夫) was born in Tokyo in 1925. He graduated from Tokyo Imperial University’s School of Jurisprudence in 1947. His first published book, The Forest in Full Bloom, appeared in 1944 and he established himself as a major author with Confessions of a Mask (1949). From then until his death he continued to publish novels, short stories, and plays each year. His crowning achievement, ...more
“Nobody even imagines how well one can lie about the state of one’s own heart.” 143 likes
“When silence is prolonged over a certain period of time, it takes on new meaning.” 102 likes
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