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The Sound Of Waves Paperback – 11 Mar 1999

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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Classics; New Ed edition (11 Mar. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099289989
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099289982
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 115,935 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"A work of art...altogether a joyous and lovely thing" (New York Times)

"Of such classic design its action might take place at any point across a thousand years" (San Francisco Chronicle)

"A pastoral with ancient Greek overtones" (Boston Globe)

"A sunny masterpiece" (Los Angeles Times)

Book Description

A classic, elegant romance set in a Japanese fishing village.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By C. F. Eden on 3 Nov. 2001
Format: Paperback
This is the most gentle and quiet novel by Mishima I have read. It is a story about an island love affair in a timeless atmosphere. However, if you dig deep as reader there are still the trade-mark under-currents of desire and frustration. The novel is beautifully written and has a gentle rhythm as its title suggests. It gave me a fascinating insight into another culture and way of thinking. As always with Mishima there is sadness amidst beauty.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 8 Dec. 2000
Format: Paperback
The Sound of the Waves tells the story of Shinji a fisherman from a small fishing village in Japan and his love for the beautiful Hatsue.Set against the background of post-war Japan this simply told story is possibly one of Mishima's greatest works. The sound and shape of his prose is probably never more beautifully demonstated than in this novel. Written in concise, minimilistic narrative Mishima shows us that his writing was at his best when it was at its plainest. The book is a beautifully crafted and timeless love story, if not his most accessible work.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 7 April 1999
Format: Paperback
Richard Hugo, an excellent poet and teacher, said that each poem has two subjects - the triggering subject (or the story), and the second, deeper subject. This holds true for many great works of literature, not just poems, and The Sound of Waves is no exception.
On the surface, we have a subtly erotic love story about Shinji and Hatsue, two hard-working young Japanese people in a close-knit, isolated, traditional village. They go on with their romance despite ugly rumors which prompt Hatsue's father, Terukichi (known as "Uncle Teru") to forbid his daughter from seeing Shinji. There is a happy ending, but I won't give it away.
This is more than your typical love story. The main characters, Shinji and Hatsue, are ideal Japanese people in the traditional, uncorrupted village: hard-working, devoted to the family, honest, and religious. The rumormongers are Westernized: Chiyoko - a pessimistic girl - is a student in western literature at a city university, and Yasuo - a rude, selfish, lazy boy who wants Hatsue for himself - is well-read in pulp magazines. It is traditional Japanese willpower and discipline that keeps Shinji and Hatsue together despite their obstacles.
What is remarkable is that the book does not make its point with a sledgehammer. The traditional characters win out, not because they tattle or scream; their integrity forces the modern characters to face the errors of their modern ways. This book is almost as relavent to our changing America as it was to Mishima's changing Japan. One read-through and you will understand Mishima's patriotism, his long quest for a return to tradition that led to his seppuku.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Susie B TOP 50 REVIEWER on 9 Mar. 2014
Format: Paperback
First published in English in 1956, Yukio Mishima's novel 'The Sound of the Waves' is set in a fishing village on a Japanese island and centres on a young fisherman, Shinji, who lives with his widowed mother and his younger brother, Hiroshi. Returning one evening from a fishing trip, Shinji notices a girl on the beach and is struck by her luminous beauty. He later learns that the girl is the daughter of the wealthiest man on the island, is named Hatsue, and has recently returned home to her father's house after living and working as a pearl diver on another island. Hatsue's father has plans to marry his daughter to a young man from one of the better families in the area and, when he has chosen him, will adopt this young man into his own family. Shinji, as a poor fisherman struggling to support his mother and his younger brother, knows that his chances with Hatsue are very slim, but when the two of them spend some time alone and realize they are strongly attracted to one another, a delicate but deep love begins to blossom between them. However, when Hatsue's father discovers that she has been alone with Shinji, he forbids them to see each other again - is their fledgling love strong enough to endure not just Hatsue's father's censure, but also the disapproval and envy of some of the villagers?

Beautifully written, with some lovely descriptions of life in a remote Japanese village and a brief insight into the social mores of Japanese rural society, this beguiling coming of age story is a pleasure to read. It is true that not a huge amount happens in this novel, and if you prefer pacy, plot-driven fiction, then this carefully-composed tale may not suit, but if you enjoy graceful, satisfying and quietly uplifting stories then 'The Sound of the Waves' may well be one for you.

4 Stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 22 July 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A perceptive psychological incision into the emotional vortex of first love. Mishima inhabits the emotional world, the palpitations of the brief encounter, the love letter and the glance. His writing style soothes the emotions in this novel rather than raises anxiety.

A man of pot boilers, self confession and literacy masterwerks all composed of equal measures. Self confession surfaces in this novel, as only someone who has experienced the beating of the reverberations in the ribcage can communicate the experience. He nails the tension of expectation, miscommunication, revenge and melting into another.

Set in rural island Japan, the picture is stitched together from the patterns and rhythms of country life perceived through the fronds of the seasonal weather bound fishing rituals. Across the universe his hand stretches to Knut Hamsum, the norwegian pioneer of the rural inner soul; the man who forsook the urban canter for the farmers stroll in early 20thC Norway.

Two teenagers meet from different ends of the limited island social spectrum and emotionally connect. The story wraps itself around the jealousies resulting. The lack of self confidence of their peers projects onto the lovers resulting in the potential sabotage of the relationship. Mishima draws on actute observations of the beating heart, the timidity, resolve, backbiting and courage of small village life to reveal within the grinding poverty, beating pulses and vitality flowing.

This strips romanticism an scrapes it back to human flesh. He describes the smells wafting through Shinji's shack echoed in Hatsue's house; toilet odour permeating daily lives. A taboo in modern day Japan is rendered transparent as a social kiss in early 60's Japanese films.
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