Karl's Reviews > Spring Snow

Spring Snow by Yukio Mishima
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it was amazing

“Spring Snow” is volume one of Yukio Mishima’s tetralogy ‘The Sea of Fertility”. When the book opens the year is 1912 and the setting Meiji Japan, which has given way to "Taisho democracy", an environment is that of a fading Japanese aristocracy resigned to accept into its midst the creep of a westernization of it’s culture.

Adolescent law student Shigekuni Honda is an impassive friend to Kiyoaki Matsugae, a baron's son of distant samurai descent. Honda's future seems preordained. Kiyoaki is a dreamer who is gripped by the sense that life's slippery fineness is running through his fingers and away from him second by second. He longs to chase the impossible, to ‘bend the world’ into the shape of his ideals.

Kiyoaki's desires eventually encounter the beautiful Satoko Ayakura. Although they have been friends since early childhood, they have grown into a mutual indifference of each other. When Satoko gets engaged to a prince, Kiyoaki is suddenly consumed by an inspired passion for her, and the two fall into an illicit affair that proves the undoing of them both. She get pregnant and then gets an abortion. Honda accepts the job of go-between for the lovers, but can only watch as Satoko renounces the world and exiles herself to a remote, wintry nunnery. Kiyoaki drives himself to pneumonia in a hopeless effort to retrieve her. Dying, clutching Honda's hand, Kiyoaki murmurs that they will meet again someday, ‘beneath the falls’.

Although it sounds a bit melodramatic, in truth the book is amazingly well written, with subtleties, implications, and consequences of environment both human and cultural that cause the reader to marvel at Yukio Mishima’s abilities. A master at work.

The closest equivalent I could suggest for compaison is the love story of ‘Romeo an Juliet’ also a story of star crossed lovers. The story is filled with symbolism, imagery and melancholy.

This Knopf hardcover edition was printed in 1972 and is the first American Edition issued as part of a set of all four books. The cycle consisting of:

Vol 1. - Spring Snow
Vol 2 - Runaway Horses
Vol 3 - The Temple Of Dawn
Vol 4 - Five Signs Of A Gods Decay

The series, which Mishima began writing in 1964 and which was his final work, is usually thought of as his masterpiece. Mishima's ritualistic suicide in 1970 will always overshadow his work.
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Reading Progress

June 9, 2018 – Started Reading
June 9, 2018 – Shelved
June 10, 2018 –
page 19
4.88%
June 12, 2018 –
page 59
15.17%
June 13, 2018 –
page 92
23.65%
June 14, 2018 –
page 136
34.96%
June 15, 2018 –
page 178
45.76%
June 16, 2018 –
page 228
58.61%
June 17, 2018 –
page 281
72.24%
June 18, 2018 –
page 325
83.55%
June 19, 2018 –
page 389
100.0%
June 19, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-4 of 4 (4 new)

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message 1: by Mackey (new)

Mackey Terrific review and I learned a new word. How have I made it to half a century without ever knowing what a "tetralogy" was!?! Now I'm going to purposefully look for them just so I can use it too!! ;)


Karl Mackey wrote: "Terrific review and I learned a new word. How have I made it to half a century without ever knowing what a "tetralogy" was!?! Now I'm going to purposefully look for them just so I can use it too!! ;)"

-- That's the nicest thing to hear Mackey glad I could cause a spark of curiosity or knowledge that inspires you .. I'll consider it a birthday present ! thanks :) --


message 3: by Nat (new)

Nat K Really fabulous review Karl. You're certainly broadening my reading horizons.


Karl Nat wrote: "Really fabulous review Karl. You're certainly broadening my reading horizons."

-- Thank You Nat, It gladdens me to hear you say that, so Thank You for your kind words. --


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