Monday, June 13, 2011
The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea by Yukio Mishima
Title: The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea
Japanese Title: 午後の曳航
Author: Yukio Mishima
Publication Year: 1994
Wow, I didn't expect this book to leave as much of an impact as it did!
I like Mishima's works, even though the author himself had sort of a strange life. Some people don't like his books because of the sex and violence, but that's not why I like his books. There's something so fascinating about his style, and it's ability to pull you in. I like his character's random discussions on society, and life, but I admit I hadn't read one of his books since a was a teen, so I wasn't sure it would still hold up.
Summary: A sailor comes into town, begins an affair with a woman in a town on the shore, and asks to marry her, but her 13 year old son, Noboru, and his band of friends, who reject the adult world, and practice a cruel form of "objectivity", will try to see that it never happens.
Plot & Characters: The book changes points of view between chapters often, giving the reader a "full" idea of what they are like. I thought it was good at capturing the "seriousness" of childhood, how simple things often become world-altering problems to Noboru, the son. Some people say Mishima was a misogynist, and I can why, the mother in the book, Fusako, is not a very strong character, but this isn't the type of book to be looking for strong characters in, in the first place. While some scenes were sort of violent, so I wouldn't recommend it to anyone for whom violent things are really not their cup of tea, but the violent scenes were vividly written, and left me with a slightly unsettling feeling (in a good way) as I put the book down. While I think that sort of thing affected my teenage self more, indeed, Mishima has sort of an adolescent spirit, a dislike of the all the unjust things that happen in the world. Or maybe I just read too much into Noboru's character.
Prose: The prose flows nicely, and has a sort of charm to it that I can't fully describe, and did a good job of establishing the environment of the seaside town. Even though it was short book, the prose helped make it memorable.
Who I would recommend this to: Those who want a novel that stays with them after they have read it, those who are fond of dark stories.