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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: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 76,322 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

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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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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By "manic_emokid" on 10 Feb 2003
Format: Paperback
People often call Mishima's highly acclaimed "Sea Of Fertility" tetralogy his crowning achievement, but I'd have to disagree. "The Sound Of Waves" is the deeply moving story of Shinji and Matsue - Shinji a simple fisherman and Matsue the daughter of the village's richest citizen - whose love it blighted by the wagging tongues of the other people of the village.
Whilst occasionally dipping into seemingly self-indulgent poetry and making several redundant descriptions of people and places, this piece of art (for that is what it is) is truly a testament to the great talent that Yukio Mishima was, and is a prime example of why he is still so well-read by people of all ages even today.
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By A Customer on 3 Feb 1997
Format: Paperback
This is a story of young love in a fishing village in Japan. It is a gem. We have a simple boy, salt in his hair and dreaming of nothing more than owning his own fishing boat some day. And here is a simple girl training to be a diver after mollusks. (True, this particular occupation has been an object of cheesy soft-core since Hokusai and before, but . . . .) The story has a timeless quality--there is no other way to put it. The boats run on diesel, but it is no accident that our setting is an island, removed from the dust and distractions of Tokyo, where other stories by Mishima are studies in anxiety, squalor, materialism and so forth. There is no element of badness here, save a little jealousy and deceit which are painted as, in their way, natural things. As our young ones have their first thrills of intimacy in a secluded hut, their love seems to crystallize the tender innocence of the place, the sunburned faces and pine trees rustling in the salty breeze. Remember this old, old tanka:

"If only the world would always stay this way, fishermen drawing up their boats on misty banks."
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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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