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La corrupcion de un angel. El mar de la…

La corrupcion de un angel. El mar de la fertilidad, 4 (BIBLIOTECA MISHIMA)… (edition 2006)

by Mishima, Yukio

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6571014,646 (3.76)1 / 37
Title:La corrupcion de un angel. El mar de la fertilidad, 4 (BIBLIOTECA MISHIMA) (Spanish Edition)
Other authors:Yukio
Info:Alianza (2006), Paperback, 304 pages
Collections:Read but unowned

Work details

The Decay of the Angel by Yukio Mishima

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This was the weakest in the tetralogy for me. Compared with the previous three books, it felt very slight and in a hurry to tie things up. The prose, as ever, is exquisite. The characters are unpleasant in the extreme. Honda and Keiko have distilled to their manipulative worst in old age. Tōru, the boy Honda believes to be the latest incarnation of childhood friend Kiyoaki, is a sub-Valmont, bent on causing pain to people because he can. In a way, it is a fitting end to the cycle, leaving doubt about what, if anything, is true in Honda's 60 year pursuit of meaning and redemption. I just wish it had felt less hurried to sew things up. ( )
  missizicks | Jul 29, 2015 |
I'm sad to say that Yukio Mishima's tetralogy "The Sea of Fertility" started out brilliantly but then fizzled in the later books. I can say the fourth and final book "The Decay of the Angel" was at lest better than the dismal third book.

This time Honda has found a 16-year-old boy he believes is his reincarnated friend Kiyo. He adopts him as his heir with disastrous results.

I honestly just didn't really enjoy this story or find it particularly interesting. It picked up steam in the last few dozen pages but the first half the book just felt long and tedious. ( )
  amerynth | Dec 1, 2013 |
Mishima started this book after he'd already resolved on suicide. Spiritual desolation pervades its every cranny and squeezes perversity out of everyone who enters its pages. Being is filth, the author has seemingly resolved, and filth is sacred, and the profane cleanliness of Japan will never save him from himself when there is a deeper cleanliness of non-being to draw him inevitably forward. Japan was supposed to save him from himself, but the unbearable aridity of Japaneseness ends up being his pretext for reducing the symphony of growing emotion and power that he's been building since book one to cacophony and then silence. I don't think he wanted to be a samurai at all. I think he wanted to be Jean Genet, a sexy bodhisattva. But his Japaneseness made that impossible: decay ever, fruition never.

Enough psychologizing! Most of this is the story of the sick interaction between a dark vampire of a man and the spirit of malevolence he adopts as a son. The scene where the old people watch Toru and Momoko on the beach must be the most vampiric in all of literature. (Seidensticker as well as Mishima impresses here with his artistry.) Honda, that twisted Horatio, sees Toru disappoint his hopes (we shall avoid spoilers here), and evil briefly reigns. But a dramatic series of reverses follows--the black angel must decay as the benign ones do--the center shall not hold--and the dissolution of the self and the narrative that comes at the end is the most masterful act of self-devouring I've ever seen a work of fiction accomplish. Appropriately, this book relies for much of its power on the three previous volumes in the series, but that doesn't change the fact that by the end you could dissolve into oceanic nothing yourself with--not Kiyoaki's erotic ardour, or Isao's death-and-glory, or Ying Chan's almost absent-minded slipping out of the flesh, or Toru's botched, unintentional self-abnegation, or indeed Mishima's own devoutly wish'd and brutally forc'd consummation--but nothing more than an aesthete's shrug. "Perhaps then there has been no I." There is also Satoko, and Buddhism, and I think a real transendence that I don't know how to talk about, but certainly for Mishima there is foremost the relief of escape from a desiccated self and age. ( )
8 vote MeditationesMartini | Oct 18, 2013 |
This is really more like a 4 1/2 star novel..but of course Goodreads is a bit limiting at times. In any case, I was really intrigued when I found out that Mishima had committed ritual suicide after this one. There is a great deal more of depth and much less innocence than The Sound of Waves (had you not guessed that by the title, though? I mean, really!) There is also a great deal about the sea and waves in this one nonetheless and parallels with humans and angels. There is madness, delusions, youth, and aging..there is the idea of pure evil and it is quite vivid. But at the end, it's not completely clear how much we as a reader were also deceived and how to sort it all out...which I suppose just makes this novel even more interesting and one to fathom further in future readings.

I like the deeper novels that make you think..the ones rich with a sense of philosophy to ponder and make you wonder about your own beliefs as well. I think this is a great work but I wish that it was at least 100 more pages longer at a minimum to really develop the characters themselves even further. I think the novel at its strengths has some interesting story lines and in terms of the character development, there are some intriguing contrasts but I tend to want more like Dostoevsky would do, for instance. I like to feel like I have epically grown with the characters.

In any case, there are some amazing insights in this novel and it is one I am sure I will come back to as I grow older. The language itself, especially the imagery, is so very vivid that it will not easily be forgotten.

Favorite quotes:

pg 1" Three birds seemed to become one at the top of the sky. Then, in disorder, they separated. There was something wondrous about the meeting and separating. It must mean something, this coming so close that they felt the wind from each other's wings, and then blue distance once more. Three ideas will sometimes join in our hearts."

pg. 13-14 "There had to be a realm where at the limit of all the layers of clarity it was definite that nothing at all made an appearance. a realm of solid, definite indigo, where seeing cast of the shackles of consciousness and itself became transparent, where phenomena and consciousness dissolved like plumbic oxide in acetic acid."

pg 15 "The joy of seeing, where everything was self evident and given, lay only at the invisible horizon, far beyond the sea. Why need there by surprise? Despite the fact that deceit was delivered at every door every morning without fail, like the milk."

"perhaps, he sometimes thought, he was a hydrogen bomb equipped with consciousness. IT was clear in any case that he was not a human being."

pg. 24 "There was a wild restlessness in the long and short lights, as if in among the clusters of solid lights a single light were mad with joy. The voice calling out from afar over the dark sea was like the voice of a madwoman. A metal voice crying out sadly though not sad, pleading an agony of joy."

pg 33 "The voices of children were like splinters of lass. Toru liked to look at people as at animals in a zoo..."

pg 40 "It was like night in a zoo of emotions. Cries and laughter came from all the pens and all the cages."

pg 41 "Rainbows will soon be animals too, at this rate. Rainbow animals."

pg 43 "Sixty years had gone by, as an instant. Something came over him to drive away his consciousness of old age, a sort of pleading, as if he had buried his face in her warm bosom."

pg 55 "Honda said to himself: ' The moment I die they will all go' The thought came to him as a happy one, a sort of revenge. IT would be no trouble at all, tearing this world up by the roots and returning it to the void. All he had to do was die. He took a certain minor pride in the thought that an old man who would be forgotten still had in death this incomparably destructive weapon. For him the five signs of decay held no fear."

pg. 66 "And the watch, solitary in the field of white plastic, carrying on an intercourse almost sexual with the sea, through the day and through the night, intimidated by harbor and ship, until gazing became pure madness. The whiteness, the abandonment of the self, the uncertainty and loneliness were themselves a ship."

pg 87 "Yes. The waves as they broke were a manifest vision of death. It seemed to him that they had to be. They were mouths agape at the moment of death.

Gasping in agony, they trailed numberless threads of saliva. Each purple in the twilight became a livid mouth.

Into the gasping mouth of the sea plunged death. Showing death nakedly time and time again, the sea was like a constabulary. It swiftly disposed of the bodies, hiding them from public gaze."

pg. 101 "Among clouds like antique white clay images of warriors were some that suggested dragons twisting angrily and darkly upward. Some as they lost their shape, were tinged rose. "

pg. 113 'The world does not approve of flying. Wings are dangerous weapons. They invite self destruction before they can be used."

pg. 137 "The shadows were the substance. They had been eaten away by the shadows, by the deep melancholy of a concept. That was not life, thought Honda. It was something less easy to excuse."

pg. 143 "But of course the world feels secure when the monstrous is reality."

pg, 154 "I suppose that thus thus rolling in the dark a woman feels only the wheel that runs over her."

pg. 209-210 "Senility was a proper ailment of both the spirit and the flesh, and the fact that senility was an incurable disease meant that existence was an incurable disease. It was a disease unrelated to existentialist theories, the flesh itself being the disease, latent death.

History knew the truth. History was the most inhuman product of humanity.It scooped up the whole of human will and, like the goddess Kali in Calcutta, dripped blood from its mouth as it bit and crunched."

( )
  kirstiecat | Mar 31, 2013 |
Final volume of Sea of Fertility tetralogy. I cannot say anything more. ( )
  HadriantheBlind | Mar 30, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
"a surpassingly chilling, subtle and original novel."
added by GYKM | editNew York Times, Alan Friedman (May 12, 1974)
"The outstanding weakness of this, the final novelistic effort of Mishima Yukio and indeed the major failing of the bulk of his work is its striking inability to rise above the emotional and intellectual limitations of its author." "He is a good writer with a well-developed sense of intrigue and suspense, but he is not a great writer." "Seidensticker's rendering of the final volume is superb and it is a pity that he could not have been persuaded to take on the whole tetralogy."

» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Yukio Mishimaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Edward G. SeidenstickerTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Winter, Maxim deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"The mists in the offing turned the distant ships black."
Perhaps then there has been no I.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
The last instalment of Yukio Mishima's [The Sea of Fertility] tetralogy and the last piece of literature that he ever published, albeit posthumously. The title is a reference to the five signs of decay for a deva, or a mortal angel, as found in Buddhist scriptures. While Mishima did submit the final instalment of [The Decay of the Angel] to his publishers on November 25, 1970, the morning of his attempted coup and seppuku, John Nathan and others have stated that he had actually finished the entire tetralogy in August 1970, during a family vacation to Shimoda.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0679722432, Paperback)

The dramatic climax of the SEA OF FERTILITY, bringing together the dominant themes of the three previous novels; the decay of Japan's courtly tradition and samurai ideal, and the essence and value of Buddhist philosophy.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:49 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

During the last years of his life, Honda adopts an orphaned boy and teaches him about Japanese society and tradition.

(summary from another edition)

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