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The Sound Of Waves [Paperback]

Yukio Mishima
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
Price: 7.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

11 Mar 1999
Set in a remote fishing village in Japan, The Sound of Waves is a timeless story of first love. It tells of Shinji, a young fisherman and Hatsue, the beautiful daughter of the wealthiest man in the village. Shinji is entranced at the sight of Hatsue in the twilight on the beach and they fall in love. When the villagers' gossip threatens to divide them, Shinki must risk his life to prove his worth.

Frequently Bought Together

The Sound Of Waves + The Temple Of The Golden Pavilion (Vintage Classics) + The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With The Sea (Vintage Classics)
Price For All Three: 20.57

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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: 13.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 191,414 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gentle but Haunting 3 Nov 2001
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
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautifully crafted and timeless love story. 8 Dec 2000
By A Customer
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
5.0 out of 5 stars A novel with two levels 7 April 1999
By A Customer
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
4.0 out of 5 stars Beguiling Coming of Age Story 9 Mar 2014
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
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed feelings. 21 Mar 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This novel in translation was interesting, as it provides great insight into Japanese fisher folk and their traditions, as well as into social mores in a small fishing community. The title is justified as the community's life is dependent on the sea. It is very easy to read. However, I found that the novella (for it is little more than that) lacked depth in both characterisation and also in any moral conveyed or analysis of cultural issues, as it comes across as a simplistic love story. It is recommended as a light, quick read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mishima's least violent novel? 19 Jan 2012
Mishima paints a tranquil picture of a quiet japanese island where the sea provides most of the wealth. The hero and heroine come from the opposite ends of the islands' economic spectrum.
There is very little of the sex or violence found in the majority of Mishimas other novels. The scene set on the island is peaceful, the wording calm, the reader is lulled into hearing the sounds of waves.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars No man is an island
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... Read more
Published on 22 July 2010 by Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles
5.0 out of 5 stars Small but perfectly formed...
Yukio Mishima blazed a path through Japanese fiction in the fifties and sixties,just as he was reaching the peak of his powers he committed ritual suicide and the world lost a... Read more
Published on 26 July 2007 by DOGG
1.0 out of 5 stars Uninvolving
I found the writing style very bland and uninvolving. For me the characters and the setting just don't come to life at all. Read more
Published on 27 Oct 2005 by Xepha
5.0 out of 5 stars An Often-Overlooked Masterpiece
People often call Mishima's highly acclaimed "Sea Of Fertility" tetralogy his crowning achievement, but I'd have to disagree. Read more
Published on 10 Feb 2003 by "manic_emokid"
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
Yukio Mishima is a literary juggernaut. He is not only famous for his huge body of quality work but also for his very public seppuku (ritual suicide). Read more
Published on 10 Nov 2002 by Mr. A. P. Venables
3.0 out of 5 stars nice but perhaps overly poetic
very good book with a romantic feel,mood and tone. however did feel the need to skim read certain parts of book due to over poetic descriptions.
Published on 6 Sep 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and Timeless
Set on an Island of the coast of Japan, this novel shares a tale of a great love between two people who bear the ridicule from other townspeople to be together. Read more
Published on 27 Aug 1999
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