6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Spring rebirth (9/10),
This review is from: Spring Snow (The Sea of Fertility) (Paperback)
Spring Snow is a 1966 novel by Yukio Mishima, the first in his Sea of Fertility tetralogy that concerns itself principally with themes of love, death and reincarnation. It's an evocative and at times philisophical novel, rendered into English with the apparently painstaking care and meticulous spirit in which is written. The translator has done an incredible job delivering Mishima's highly disciplined descriptive style in English, which is deeply rooted in Japanese aesthetic traditions. In reading Spring Snow we are priviledged access to the seemingly impenetratable Japanese spiritual identity - and the unique visual grammar so deeply entwined with it - in a way that a weaker translation might have failed to do. Some of the descriptive passages in particular are so vivid and evocative (and often cinematic) that is hard to believe that we are reading anything but the authentic voice of the author.
While some of the philosophical ruminations, most often delivered as dialogue, leave me cold - it seems too overt when compared to the novel's subtler explorations, especially those in the realm of aesthetics - the principal storyline is devestatingly emotive. While some readers might find Mishima's style a little too self-conscious, too disciplined, others (like myself) may find themselves sucked into the intense seasonal imagery, as richly coloured as it is tactile. The quote on the back of the book compares Mishima's prose to the perfectionism of a Japanese garden, and while this may seem like lazy cultural stereotyping, it is hard to disagree. Mishima's writing is highly stylised, yes, but with a taut symmetry rooted in the cyclical nature of Japanese spiritual and aesthetic traditions.
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Initial post: 16 Sep 2009, 23:39:14 BST
Reading this particular review caused me to wonder why the reviewer if he/she is not already an author, then they should be. The language used by the reviewer was nearly as evocative as the novel being reviewed. ''And we shall return to the place as if for the first time''.
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