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Spring Snow (book review) Yukio Mishima,

(The Sea of Fertility #1) Michael Gallagher (Translator)


220202: read this mostly on long flight. nostalgia has double effect on me, as it is romantic portrayal of the era (1912 Japan), and as mentioned, my romantic sense of when i was the same age as kiyoaki, 19, similar fascination, difficulties, obsession and turbulent emotions inspired by my first serious girlfriend. i have read this now three (3) times, might go on to read the other three again. this reading, familiar with how the plot goes, i could concentrate on narrative and poetics. as i do not read Japanese, all i can say is the translation is beautiful, that the images, details, natural world is powerfully presented...


now that i have read a lot of philosophy, particularly buddhist, can understand the discussions, thoughts, shared by the young men, and having read proust, for example, i have clearer understanding of the emotional provocations that get all out of control. i can better see how he is not merely childish but caught up in his fever dream of love, one he must only recognise too late, and that she has some wilful role as well. in fact, it is remarkable, memorable, that everyone has their own motivations, from retainers, law students, buddhist nuns, abbess, parents and the imperial family...


now that i know the continuing role in the tetralogy the honda plays, i read his sections with more intent, seeing him as the rationalist opposite, but good friend who facilitates their encounters, all the while both pitying kiyoaki's love and knowing it must end. and the way it ends. no spoilers, but it is heartbreaking sad...


kiyoaki is something like the beautiful, emotional, man i wanted to be at that age, and satoko is the beautiful, emotional, woman i wanted to love. the images with which Mishima tells the story still haunt me, the tragedy of young love still works these decades later. i think i might just reread the others to see if my judgement has matured...


.??? 80s: this is the first japanese work i read, years ago (decades...): inspired me to try out literary work from other cultures. this is the first of four in 'the sea of fertility' tetralogy by mishima, so you do not have to decide what to read next. this is my favorite of the four, possibly because it was such a romantic conception of the time and the character, i read this before the various authors the blurbs compared him to: end up liking him here better than proust, hemingway etc. i have only read this twice, hesitant to risk breaking the spell of my memories of it, also of the time i read it, when i was so young, so romantic, so hopeful...



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