Runaway Horses (The Sea of Fertility) Paperback – 11 Mar 1999
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"In Runaway Horses Mishima writes of a desire to destroy or subvert beauty at its height, thus strengthening its appeal and preventing its slow decay" (New York Times)
"One of the great writers of the twentieth century" (Los Angeles Times)
"Mishima's novels exude a monstrous and compulsive weirdness, and seem to take place in a kind of purgatory for the depraved" (Angela Carter)
"This tetralogy is considered one of Yukio Mishima's greatest works. It could also be considered a catalogue of Mishima's obsessions with death, sexuality and the samurai ethic. Spanning much of the 20th century, the tetralogy begins in 1912 when Shigekuni Honda is a young man and ends in the 1960s with Honda old and unable to distinguish reality from illusion. En route, the books chronicle the changes in Japan that meant the devaluation of the samurai tradition and the waning of the aristocracy" (Washington Post)
"Mishima succeeded, unlike any other writer before him, in creating a glittering alloy of Eastern and Western traditions, classical and contemporary forms" (New York Times)
The second novel in Mishima's masterful Sea of Fertility tetraologySee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
As the novel opens, Shigekuni Honda, a main character in Spring Snow, now a judge in the Osaka Court of Appeals, has reached the age of thirty-eight, a man leading a quiet life of reason who believes that his youth ended with the death of his friend Kiyoaki Matsugae, eighteen years ago. When he is asked to substitute for his Chief Justice at a kendo exhibition in Nara, some distance away, he accepts. The star of the exhibition is young Isao Iinuma, the nineteen-year-old son of Kiyoaki's tutor during their childhood. Later, after climbing Mount Miwa, Honda performs a purification ritual in a waterfall and sees, once again, young Isao. This time he is stunned to notice a pattern of three moles under Isao's arm. His friend Kiyoaki had exactly the same pattern of moles, and had insisted on his deathbed that "I will see you again." Honda, who has always grounded his life in reason, now believes that Isao is the confident samurai reincarnation of Kiyoaki.
At the Saigusa Festival of Wild Lilies, Isao gives Honda a copy of a book which is a prized possession: The League of the Divine Wind, by Yamao Tsunenori, which rails against making Japan a republic and insists that all foreign influences be eliminated from Japan.Read more ›
Isao's idealism is rendered in intense, homoerotic detail. He is perhaps what Mishima most yearned to be -- an anti-intellectual, motivated by love of the Emperor. Above all, Isao dies young. His suicide is a compressed version of that of the young soldier in Mishima's short story (or, rather, masturbation fantasy), "Patriotism", a lascivious account of seppuku.
Mishima's version of Japan in the 1930s reads suspiciously like the turbulent, westernizing sixties, during which he assembled his corps of fascist dimwits and body-builders. This private army had less to do with politics than the author's own, increasingly deranged, exhibitionism: culminating, of course, in his bizarre and very public demise.
Even if Mishima was not someone you might care to have as a neighbour, he was indisputably a terrific writer. He understood perfectly that imagination lies in the detail.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I soon found myself rueing the fact that Mishima had killed off the youthful kiyoaki at the end of Spring Snow and we are left with the comparatively dull Honda to pick up the... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Herr Holz Paul
Isao is a young fanatically driven idealist in 1930s Japan and seeks his fulfillment in the 1930s Japan equivalent of a suicide attack on the enemy. Read morePublished on 6 May 2011 by William Jordan