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Spring Snow by Yukio Mishima

Spring Snow (edition 1990)

by Yukio Mishima

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1,877295,586 (4.03)120
Title:Spring Snow
Authors:Yukio Mishima
Info:Vintage (1990), Paperback, 400 pages
Collections:Your library

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Spring Snow by Yukio Mishima



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» See also 120 mentions

English (26)  French (1)  Hebrew (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (29)
Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
After watching Paul Schrader’s Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (see here), I decided to give some of Mishima’s fiction a go, and since the Sea of Fertility was his most famous work, I bought the first book of it: Spring Snow. It’s… good. Very good. The story is set in the second decade of the twentieth century, and concerns the relationship between the son of a wealthy family and the daughter of an impoverished aristocratic family. They grew up together and their eventual pairing was considered inevitable. But he, for whatever reasons, pretends he has no feelings for her. And so she ends up affianced to a prince of the Imperial family. As a result, the two conduct an illicit affair in the weeks leading up to her marriage. Also in the story are a Thai prince and his companion, who attend the son’s school and live in his family’s guest-house. I knew nothing about Mishima’s fiction – I was aware of how he had died, however – when I started this book, and I still know little other than what I read in Spring Snow. But it’s an excellent piece of writing, and the period, and lives, it depicts are fascinating. I’m almost certain I’ll read the rest of the quartet. Recommended. ( )
  iansales | Jan 9, 2019 |
Jefferson's first day of school was a Wednesday, and I of course had a brain meltdown and barely got us out the door in time, so certainly didn't have a lunch packed or a book to read while I hung out in Mecosta and waited for time to pick him up. Plus, on Wednesdays, the library doesn't open until 1:0o (preschool starts at 11:30), but happily the used bookstore was open.

Spring Snow was the first book to catch my eye on entering the store. I suspected at the time and have since confirmed that it sounded so familiar because it was on Bookslut's top 100 books of the 20th century list. And I'm happy to say after reading it I feel it definitely deserves its spot on that list. I loved this book from beginning to end.

Set in early 20th century Japan, this story plays out against a backdrop of a country in flux -- where families with money and families with rank have access to different kinds of power. Where old world elegance clashes with those emulating the tastes and values of the west.

In addition to this intriguing glance into a foreign culture, are the more familiar forms of a young man's coming of age and the tragic tale of a forbidden romance. But almost all of these things seem secondary to the languid, hypnotizing style with which the story is told. One never stops to wonder how the recitation of a dream or a religious discussion or a rumination on law moves the story forward, because every word just seems to draw the reader further into the dream that is this book.

I can hardly recommend this book highly enough. ( )
  greeniezona | Dec 6, 2017 |
¡Uf! Por una vez, un libro de Mishima que realmente me enganchó, me mantuvo interesada de principio a fin y me conectó con los personajes y sus historias. Primera vez que siento lo que todos dicen de que Mishima es tan bakán para narrar, que es un maestro y no sé qué. xD Hubo partes increíbles y escenas tan vívidas que me sorprendieron. Una agradable sorpresa esta novela a la que le tenía algo de "susto" porque Mishima es tan retorcido que no sabía qué esperar del primer libro de esta tetralogía. ¡Menos mal que fue bueno! ^_^ ( )
  MisaBookworm | Dec 5, 2017 |
This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Librarything & Tumblr by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Spring Snow
Series: Sea of Fertility #1
Author: Yukio Mishima
Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
Genre: Japanese Lit
Pages: 399
Format: Digital Edition


Kiyoaki, son of a wealthy samurai family, has been raised in the Ayakura household. The Ayakuras are an ancient royal family and the Matsugae's hope that some of the Ayakura's polish will rub off on Kiyoaki.

The Ayakura's have a daughter who is in love with Kiyoaki. However, Kiyoaki is the forerunner of the emo-goths and so self-absorbed that he ignores or repels anything having to do with anyone else. He rejects Satoko's love and she is then affianced to a direct descendant of the Emperor.

Kiyoaki loses it, starts a torrid affair with Satoko without thinking about any of the consequences. Satoko becomes pregnant, is forced to abort the baby and in response joins a nunnery. Kiyoaki refuses to believe that Satoko would spurn him and in the process of trying to get her attention, catches pneunomia and dies.

My Thoughts:

Ugh. And that pretty much sums up every single feeling I had about this book. It was “Literature” with a Capital L.

It was beautifully written and the translator did a fantastic job of keeping that beauty intact. However, nothing could disguise the pathetic, childish, self-centered, disgusting character of the main character. Kiyoaki was a typical young man but without getting any of his sharp corners ground down by his parents or his friends. So at the end, he cracks and breaks.

This was reading about the worst of people, just because the author felt like writing it. In the introduction, by the publishers, they give a little history of the author. He killed himself at the age of 45. If his mindset continued like this book, it's no wonder.

This was supposed to be a tetralogy, but I'm not sure how this can be a series since the main character dies. From the tone of the book, I'd guess that the series is all tied together by some esoteric “Idea”. Ugh. Again. I will NOT be reading any more by Mishima.

★★☆☆☆ ( )
  BookstoogeLT | Sep 25, 2017 |
A heartwrenching coming-of-age story that is so beautiful, so sincere ( )
  MetropolitanBlues | Oct 28, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
"a work of brilliant historical coloring and erotic introspection"
added by GYKM | editNew York Times, Alan Friedman (May 12, 1974)
"we read 'Spring Snow' for its marvelous incidentals, graphic and philosophic, and for its scene-gazing"
"The point here is that Mishima seems to share many Western illusions about not only Japan, but all of Asia" [...] "an unconvincing movie scenario portrait of Japan in the 1910s" [...] "Mishima's diction is self-consciously intellectual; his prose is filled with words drawn from the whole history of the Japanese language used in an effort to enrich the texture of his diction" [...] "However the translation we are offered of the first two volumes is in quite pedestrian English."
A novel with the perfect beauty of a Japanese garden... a classic of Japanese literature.
added by GYKM | editChicago Sun-Times

» Add other authors (21 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Yukio Mishimaprimary authorall editionscalculated
Blaauw, Gerrit deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gallagher, MichaelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shimizu, YukoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First words
When conversation at school turned to the Russo-Japanese war, Kiyoake Matsugae asked his closest friend, Shigekuni Honda, how much he could remember about it.
Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
una domenica tranquilla, pacifica e fausta, eppure Kiyoaki aveva
l’impressione di udire il rumore che le gocce del tempo producevano
filtrando dal forellino da sempre aperto sul fondo del mondo simile a un
otre colmo d’acqua.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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See visuals and brief background to at: http://www.practise.co.uk/work/archiv...
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0679722416, Paperback)

The first novel of Mishima's landmark tetralogy, The Sea of fertility

Spring Snow is set in Tokyo in 1912, when the hermetic world of the ancient aristocracy is being breached for the first time by outsiders -- rich provincial families unburdened by tradition, whose money and vitality make them formidable contenders for social and political power.

Among this rising new elite are the ambitious Matsugae, whose son has been raised in a family of the waning aristocracy, the elegant and attenuated Ayakura. Coming of age, he is caught up in the tensions between old and new -- fiercely loving and hating the exquisite, spirited Ayakura Satoko. He suffers in psychic paralysis until the shock of her engagement to a royal prince shows him the magnitude of his passion, and leads to a love affair that is as doomed as it was inevitable.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:45 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Kiyoaki Matsugae's passionate and ill-fated love for the betrothed daughter of a Tokyo aristocrat brings him into disfavor at the Imperial Court.

(summary from another edition)

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