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The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With The Sea (Vintage Classics) [Kindle Edition]

Yukio Mishima
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £7.99
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Book Description

A band of savage thirteen-year-old boys reject the adult world as illusory, hypocritical, and sentimental, and train themselves in a brutal callousness they call 'objectivity'. When the mother of one of them begins an affair with a ship's officer, he and his friends idealise the man at first; but it is not long before they conclude that he is in fact soft and romantic. They regard this disallusionment as an act of betrayal on his part - and the retribution is deliberate and horrifying.

Product Description


"Mishima's greatest novel, and one of the greatest of the past century" (The Times)

"Explores the viciousness that lies beneath what we imagine to be innocence" (Independent)

"Told with Mishima's fierce attention to naturalistic detail, the grisly tale becomes painfully convincing and yields a richness of psychological and mythic truth" (Sunday Times)

"Coolly exact with his characters and their honourable motives. His aim is to make the destruction of the sailor by his love seem as inevitable as the ocean" (Guardian)

"Mishima's imagery is as artful as a Japanese flower arrangement" (New York Times)

Book Description

'A major work of art' Time

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 634 KB
  • Print Length: 194 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital; New Ed edition (26 Jan. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00351YEUS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #138,556 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A breathtaking read. 24 July 2010
Sometimes you comes across a book so beautifully written that it stands out from the rest in just the first few pages. This is one of those books. This is a simple story of a sailor (called Ryuji) who falls in love with a shop owner widower (Fusako) and who eventually get engaged to get married. The woman's son (Noburu) secretly watches the couple makes love and starts to hate the sailor for the softer side of his character that he sees, rather than the gruff adventurer hero he has built up in his mind. The son is also part of a gang that practises detached emotional responses to life and who inflict great cruelty on animals to test their detachment. Rather than being truly evil the son is more lead astray than anything else, but this leads the book to it's dark, yet compelling conclusion.

This is one of those books that is beautiful to read, with wonderful poetic descriptions, but it also has an element that leaves you feeling slightly disturbed as well. The early scenes between Ryuji and Fusako have an erotic feel to them, but at no point are they explicit or gratuitous. The sexual energy is explored through simple things like the parting of her mouth, the smell of her body or the eating of a cherry. All simple things, but when written as skilfully as this, very effective. Ryuji's fall from grace with Noboru is quite sad to read, especially as we are made aware of Ryuji's inner thoughts and intent that Noboru can't fathom. This makes the ending all the more chilling and powerful and I was worried how the author was going to deal with the ending, but he managed to finish this with huge impact and style and it is one that leaves you thinking about it long after you have placed the book back on your bookshelf.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With The Sea 8 Jan. 2006
By Stewart
Yukio Mishima's 'The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With The Sea' is a short novel but, due to its tight plot, brevity is not an issue. Published in 1963, seven years before he committed ritual suicide, the novel explores motivation and the factors that can cause someone to abandon their passions and resume their life embracing the dreams of another.
Noboru Kuroda, a thirteen year old on the cusp of an adult world, is part of a savage gang whose members, despite their exemplary grades at school, have rebelled against the adult world they deem hypocritical. Under the tutelage of Noboru's friend, also thirteen, they condition themselves against sentimental feelings - a goal they call `objectivity' - by killing stray cats.
Ryuji Tsukazaki, a merchant seaman, has been granted two days' shore leave and has spent the time romancing Noboru's widowed mother, Fusako. Noboru likes the sailor at first, his commitment to the sea and all the manly stories he has to tell. But, as Ryuji falls for Fusako, Noboru feels betrayed by the man's burgeoning romanticism and, with the help of his gang, feels that action should be taken against the man who has replaced his father.
The first thing I noticed while reading this novel was that the characters are rich with life and history. Noboru, at thirteen, has strong feelings for his mother that manifest through voyeuristic sessions at night when, peeking into her room through a spy-hole, he watches her undress, entertain, and sleep. Ryuji, the sailor, knows he has some purpose at sea and continues his life off the land in the hope that one day he will learn his place in life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Prince of Ice 15 Sept. 2010
By Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Mishima is the Prince of Ice, a man of cold emotional detachment paradoxically consumed with the minutiae of burning emotions. Remaining detached he could inhabit the skin, blood and bone of his characters. He projected himself away from the real world into the imaginary where he could inhabit himself.

Within this book each person tries to connect across an emotional wasteland. The metaphors abound, the Chief's empty silent house; a boy left to himself who hates his parents. Ryuji losing first his mother, then his house, thn his sister to typhus and then lastly his father. He hates the land because of what it represents sickness and death. His connection to the sea is his escape from memory. His burgeoning love brings him back to the land.

Fusako, his soul mate has lost her husband and is in a form of bereavement. Norburo has lost his father and dotes on his mother, with a fear of losing her. This cements the mother son bond.

Mishima understands the power of bereavement, the impact of loss and neglect as it arose within his family. He lost his sister to typhus and suffered a form of deep emotional neglect being kidnapped by his grandmother. The key points were his abilities to articulate grief and an emotional coldness caused by death, a deep sense of permafrost that gradually thaws through time or remains icebound and suspended.

The descriptions of lust, the juxtaposed position of the young Chinese sex worker and his burning desire for Fusako convey a suppressed erotica slowly uncoiling throughout the story.

Bodies and sweat are also perceived as real anchor points of human corporeality, the essence of existence as the descriptions of muscle sweat and musk, perfume the story.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 2 months ago by PhilBe
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 3 months ago by diane sexton
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful
Intriguing book, thought provoking. I seem to keep thinking about it.
Published 6 months ago by Ding
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
all ok
Published 6 months ago by T. Oakley
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book
I only bought this because David Bowie is a big fan of Mishima's work - I read it straight through as it was that unusual combination of wonderful writing, beautifully drawn... Read more
Published 23 months ago by Teenage Wildlife
5.0 out of 5 stars Grim but gripping
I'd never heard of this famous Japanese writer before I picked this up from the library, but this book, written in 1963, is stunning. Read more
Published on 16 Feb. 2013 by Eco bunny
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Short this novel may be but don't think because of that there is no substance to it, you would be woefully wrong. Read more
Published on 13 Feb. 2013 by M. Dowden
3.0 out of 5 stars For cynics not sailors
This novel is slim and easy to read, the first novel i have read by this author, i have to confess i only picked it up to see what he was capable of writing considering he was... Read more
Published on 5 May 2012 by Max Renn
3.0 out of 5 stars a book of despair - not for a pick me up
The image that sticks with me of this book is the 'Lord of the Flies' type behaviour of the young lad and his 'mates'. Read more
Published on 6 July 2011 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Mishima's Masterpiece?
This was really quite the surprise read for me, I didn't really know what I was getting with Yukio Mishima's `The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With the Sea' (mainly because I... Read more
Published on 12 May 2010 by Simon Savidge Reads
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