Spring Snow

Yukio Mishima

I hadn’t touched Mishima since college, but was intrigued by the rating William T. Vollmann gave him in his recent book, Kissing the Mask, a forthcoming review of which by me will appear on the site very soon.
For Vollmann, this book, the first volume in Mishima’s Sea of Fertility tetralogy, “shines ever more obviously as one of the great works of the last century…” How, therefore, could I resist?
The novel has its occasional longuers , but in the general course of things, the rewards spring forth from the page. The mounting romantic tension between Kiyoaki and the beautiful Satoko is enthralling, as is the presentiment of doom, so beautifully managed.
Read at the simplest level, there is a deceptive hint of the harlequin in this book. That’s to read the book the wrong way, though. This is complex, breathing, human stuff, with friendships and desires and betrayals deeply intertwined and carved throughout in three compelling dimensions.
“The hot sun struck the backs of their close-shaven necks. It was peaceful, uneventful, glorious Sunday afternoon. Yet Kiyoaki remained convinced that at the bottom of this world, which was like a leather bag filled with water, there was a little hole, and it seemed to him that he could hear time leaking from it, drop by drop.”

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