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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gentle but Haunting
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...
Published on 3 Nov. 2001 by C. F. Eden

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed feelings.
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...
Published 22 months ago by MS ANNE C CLARKE


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gentle but Haunting, 3 Nov. 2001
By 
C. F. Eden (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Sound Of Waves (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
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
By 
Susie B - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Sound of Waves (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
5.0 out of 5 stars No man is an island, 22 July 2010
By 
Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles "FIST" (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Sound Of Waves (Paperback)
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.

In the cesspit of life romantic love blooms, blossoms and flourishes. The courtly worlds of the Samurai have diminished. Mishima provides a skin to fishermen/peasant bones, the outcasts of the incessant drive of Japanese modernity where all things ethnic supplanted with missionary zeal to create the modern apparition. The same process was mirrored in the west, hence the Mishima cross cultural appeal.

The gaze into this novels mirror reflection can throw up many self projections. The battles between city and villlage life, a return to Japan pre war civil mission is one orientalist myth westerners cling to.

Mishima never lived a rural reality, engrossed as a shining star of literature, he lived a celebrity lifestyle. Hamsum returned to the soil, breathing the mythology. Mishima played soldiers, returning to one aspect of failure, rejected from the military because of his puny body.

A man torn between masculine and feminine worlds, parallel poles of his early childhood/adolescent whirlpool. Here he leaves the military warrior behind and falls in love with women. Mishima the realist romantic is psychologically born. A tale of the pure of heart offers redemption.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Often-Overlooked Masterpiece, 10 Feb. 2003
This review is from: The Sound Of Waves (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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5.0 out of 5 stars a kind of innocence, 3 Feb. 1997
By A Customer
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Mishima's least violent novel?, 19 Jan. 2012
By 
This review is from: The Sound Of Waves (Paperback)
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written!, 21 Feb. 1999
By A Customer
I was assigned to read this book for school and did not expect to enjoy it. Well, I was pleasantly surprised. Not only did I find the setting both sweet and unique, the characters were captivating and very well developed. After all, it's not everyday that one gets to see inside the life of a young Japanese boy as he falls head-over-heals in love with a strange girl he knows almost nothing about. When I finished the book, I immediately re-read all of the parts concerning Shinji's feelings, thoughts, etc. toward Hatsue. (I especially liked how Shinji and Hatsue keep on "running into" each other and planning to do so again!) Yukio Mishima lovingly weaves a tale which describes the feelings and emotions of a naive young couple as they discover what it is to be in love. If you like a rewarding and beautifully written romance story, this book is for you!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Small but perfectly formed..., 26 July 2007
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This review is from: The Sound Of Waves (Paperback)
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 great voice from the orient...

"The Sound of Waves" is set on a small island in the Gulf of Ise,Eastern Japan. This short but brilliantly formed tale follows the paths of two star crossed lovers as they court each other tentatively amid the hard working lives they lead on the island.

Flora,fauna,dialogue,narrative and plotlines are delicately woven around a beautiful location and an age old story. Mishima reads very well, his use of metaphor and similie is exceptionally good and i highly recommend this 1956 novel to all readers,not just fans of Japanese fiction.
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The Sound Of Waves
The Sound Of Waves by Yukio Mishima (Paperback - 11 Mar. 1999)
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