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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life ingested and inhabited within, 15 July 2010
By 
Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles "FIST" (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Death in Midsummer & Other Stories (Paperback)
Ready to reappraise after a fifteen year lay off I returned to "Patriotism."

Primed to wield the critical sword of cynicism on Mishima reification. A catalyst for the return was reading Nathan and Stokes biographies then Ross's journey.

Emerging, after diving into the Mishima oceanic psychological depths, however are new poetic insights. Reading this brought back the man who potholed into the dark abyss of his childhood despair, kept in the hot fetid stifling air of a Grandmother's psychological withering grasp, his bounteous imagination filled spaces, gaps and cranies. Most people would descend into revenge or self destruction. Mishima ingested all these elements, creating a body without organs, eventually splicing himself to visually denote his own mortality. In the meantime he mined, forged and beat out on the anvil of his soul intricate poetic psychological insights and ahem... slush for his female readers. A man of two distinct halves.

The stories within here are pathological intricate, detailed psychological masterwerks; read the double bind inherent within patriotism. Joining his friends entails the damnation of being a traitor, if he kills them he sentences himself. Doing nothing he becomes anhilated by all. One escape from the double bind is to spill himself, a poetic revenge on the situation entailing his obliteration.

Enticing the beauty of his wife, making her watch whilst he disgorges himself, Mishima inhabits the psychological vortex of a codependent serial killer. Deft applied psychological warfare destroys his wife, based on the intoxication of desire.

A metaphor for self destructive relationships couched in beauty. The text hints she was chosen for this deed from inception. Whilst Mishima always stated he could never write without experiencing the act, here he seemingly rehearses his own death. Famous for his nihilism, having it all, beautiful wife, two children feted by the right, a literary giant, the man of film, the embodiment of masculinity he stuck a finger into all belief, throwing his life into the abyss screaming "Is this all?" whilst the world scratched its head for moments before some other atrocity took its place,

The monk who falls for the concubine incorporate deceit, power, elusion, beauty, lust and immersion in the songs and sounds of the universe. A beautiful story of subterfuge and boredom, the metaphor for having it all and still never being fulfilled. Maybe life in the next world is better?

The death on the beach is excrucating in detail. Anyone who has suffered any form of bereavement will be hit by a brick wall of recognition. This is a beautiful haunting story that stayed with me for weeks.

The game playing of the party spinsters is another precise vignette as the relationships rock to the need to keep and sustain face.

This book is bite sized chunks of the Mishima mind, the correct preparation for the wider works, psychological distillations. He bestrode the extremities of a man wishing to find his own contours. There is nothing oriental about his genius, only the adherents who have thwarted their imagination or lack the life experience see him as essential Japanese.

In essence Mishima speaks to the world holding a mirror to falsity he abhorred. Just a pity about the politics.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Start here for an insight into this extra-ordinary author, 8 May 2001
By A Customer
I bought this book after seeing a documentary on Mishima and thinking that he seemed like an interesting fellow. However I could not have been more stunned by the quality of the stories within - a snapshot of an world alien to most Europeans, but expressed so beautifully.
Mishima writes about a lot of heavy things - his account of a suicide pact between a young army officer and his wife, in which he describes the act of seppuku (hari-kiri) almost as an act of love, is quite stunning. He also has a witty, flippant turn and an eye for tragi-comedy, mixing tales of infant death on a beach with a story of geishas going for a walk. All of these are beautifully expressed and sometimes like reading poetry as much as prose.
Mishima's recurrent themes are of beauty, honour and a lost world of chivalry of Japan's Samurai traditions, themes echoed in his turbulent life and final death by ritual disembowelment in the office of a Japanese army general. His writings are edged with his displeasure at his own physical appearance and lack of strength - which he later tried to address with kendo, karate and bodybuilding, seeing himself as one of the warrior tradition; his obsession with male beauty and form, and the images of the death of St Sebastian, pierced by arrows by the Romans suggest a homo-erotic under-current to some of his tales.
His writing is achingly beautiful in places - my only ache at the moment is having lent my copy to someone who has not yet returned it!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb collection, 7 July 2014
This review is from: Death in Midsummer & Other Stories (Paperback)
Superb collection. Each story is a gem, and the selection gives a fantastic introduction to the work of this supremely talented writer.
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Death in Midsummer & Other Stories
Death in Midsummer & Other Stories by Yukio Mishima (Paperback - 1 Feb. 1966)
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