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The Decay of the Angel: Yukio Mishima by…
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The Decay of the Angel: Yukio Mishima (edition 2001)

by Yukio Mishima (Author)

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9551618,516 (3.84)1 / 43
Yukio Mishima's The Decay of the Angel is the final novel in his masterful tetralogy, The Sea of Fertility. It is the last installment of Shigekuni Honda's pursuit of the successive reincarnations of his childhood friend Kiyoaki Matsugae. nbsp; It is the late 1960s and Honda, now an aged and wealthy man, once more encounters a person he believes to be a reincarnation of his friend, Kiyoaki -- this time restored to life as a teenage orphan, Tōru. Adopting the boy as his heir, Honda quickly finds that Tōru is a force to be reckoned with. The final novel of this celebrated tetralogy weaves together the dominant themes of the previous three novels in the series: the decay of Japan's courtly tradition; the essence and value of Buddhist philosophy and aesthetics; and, underlying all, Mishima's apocalyptic vision of the modern era.… (more)
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Title:The Decay of the Angel: Yukio Mishima
Authors:Yukio Mishima (Author)
Info:Vintage Classics (2001), Edition: 01, 256 pages
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The Decay of the Angel (Sea of Fertility, Book 4) by Yukio Mishima

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English (14)  Spanish (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (16)
Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
I think about life, and I think about death...and then I think some more, and now I prefer neither over the other. Human existence is absurdly comedic, and painfully miniscule simultaneously. There is no such thing as a heroic death nowadays.... ( )
  georgeybataille | Jun 1, 2021 |
This wraps up the tetralogy, that much is clear. A fourth manifestation of Honda's object of fascination... we do get a good peek at the character of Toru, a chapter of the writings of his diary for example. The whole thing certainly has a kind of nihilistic flavor. Beauty and death. Everybody seems to treat each other as a pawn on their chess board. Maybe the whole thing is a tale of what can happen when Buddhism meets the modern world. It'd be interesting to construct a similar narrative, but about Westerners confronting Buddhism. Of course Buddhism has hardly imposed itself in the Western world. but still, in little pockets, it might be possible. Nova Scotia maybe. Perhaps Kerouac could be the counter narrative.

Yeah this whole thing is just dripping with sensuality of all dimensions. It's got so many competing layers of meaning, a tangled mat of seaweed washed up on the rocks and rotting. ( )
  kukulaj | Jan 14, 2021 |
Oi! A complex fourth novel in the "Sea of Fertility" tetralogy has my head spinning. Mishima's prose is lyrical and mystical and evocative. The themes of reincarnation, cultural and personal decay, and coming to terms with death continue from the previous novels. The protagonist, Honda, believes he has found yet another reincarnation of his friend, Mitsugae. Then good and evil battle each other until the entire plot twists and throws all beliefs into question. Is the title a reference to each of us being angels who decay with time? Are all of us fallen angels? The reader I is left with all the existential, philosophical questions unanswered. Somehow it all works. ( )
  hemlokgang | Feb 28, 2018 |
"There is nothing in the least special about you. I guarantee you a long life. You have not been chosen by the gods, you will never be at one with your acts, you do not have in you the green light to flash like young lightning with the speed of the gods and destroy yourself. All you have is a certain premature senility. Your life will be suited for coupon-clipping. Nothing more."

--The Decay of the Angel by Yukio Mishima

Holy Krakatoa, that's some stiff medicine, Mishima. Or poison. While not my favorite book of the tetralogy, it is a worthy culmination. A slow rotting and realization over time. Maybe quick self-destruction should be left to those with passion and the acrid bite from years by acid at the bottom of the throat. ( )
  ToddSherman | Aug 24, 2017 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 14 (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
Mishima, Yukioprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Edward G. SeidenstickerTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Winter, Maxim deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Yukio Mishima's The Decay of the Angel is the final novel in his masterful tetralogy, The Sea of Fertility. It is the last installment of Shigekuni Honda's pursuit of the successive reincarnations of his childhood friend Kiyoaki Matsugae. nbsp; It is the late 1960s and Honda, now an aged and wealthy man, once more encounters a person he believes to be a reincarnation of his friend, Kiyoaki -- this time restored to life as a teenage orphan, Tōru. Adopting the boy as his heir, Honda quickly finds that Tōru is a force to be reckoned with. The final novel of this celebrated tetralogy weaves together the dominant themes of the previous three novels in the series: the decay of Japan's courtly tradition; the essence and value of Buddhist philosophy and aesthetics; and, underlying all, Mishima's apocalyptic vision of the modern era.

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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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