After The Banquet (Vintage Classics) Paperback – 11 Mar 1999
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"Kazu is the biggest and most profound thing Mishima has done so far in an already distinguished career" (New Yorker)
"His most novelistic work, with a degree of earthiness and warmth rare in his fiction" (New York Times)
"Japan's foremost man of letters" (Spectator)
"Direct yet allusive, poetic...an amazing feat" (Atlantic)
An acute psychological portrait of a marriage where lofty traditions clash with appetite and ambitionSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The book follows Kazu, the owner of a successful restaurant, as she falls in love with a retired MP, and pushes him back into running for office for the left-wing party he defected to before his retirement.
She has to use a lot of her money to further his career, and the book is very revealing on the role of money in politics, as well as how dirty tricks are used, and other murky aspects of electoral campaigns.
Mishima was a right-winger, although you'd hardly tell that from this book. The only evidence you'll find of this is that the book was (partly) based on actual events, and he seems to be saying that the MP in question was a pawn of his wife. This MP sued Mishima and won, so it's doubtful his wife wore the trousers in real life - not legally speaking anyway!
However, the book, isn't particularly political. There is no overt discussion of political doctrine, and Mishima's personal politics don't come through because he favours story over doctrine, and this is for the better. It's a book about Kazu trying to achieve her goals, and focuses on her personality. Exposing her character often revolves around manners - there is a telling scene involving the buying of oranges as a present for another woman, to take one example.
I give this book a high mark for its humanity (it seems less calculated than the author's other works), its look at the Japanese political system of the time, and for Mishima's controlled, clear writing. It may seem to drag at certain points, but overall the book is well worth reading.