am 11. April 2000
Can we dare to be honest with ourselves and open ourselves to what is Beautiful in life and nourish and revel in the sensuality of Beauty? Or would we rather run away from our True Desires in terror, sinking into selfishness and cruelty and polite, hypocritical social artifice? These are some of the questions Mishima explores in this remarkable book, wonderfully translated by Alfred Marks. A haunting story of repressed desire and the pain repression causes. No matter how diligently the characters try to "order" their repressed, false lives, Reality comes breaking in, (notice as you read the novel how every time some new revelation is about to occur, a fire breaks out...);Beauty and desire haunts these people, but they dare not embrace it, it always seems out of reach; they sink into selfishness and despair. An incredible book.
am 19. Mai 2000
My experience with Japanese writers has been limited to Ishiguro (who is practially English after living over 25 years in England) and Murakami, so I was a bit taken aback by the sheer darkness and depravity of Mishima. Yet, his writing is compelling and his tale gripping. You are supposed to find the main character repulsive -- it's pretty clear that he finds himself repulsive at times as well. Clearly Mishima is a force in Japanese fiction and a writer to be reckoned with. This book is not a fun read, but in the scope of Japanese works, it's an important read.
am 14. Januar 1999
This compelling book strings the usual subtle tones of homoeroticism that run through most of Mishima's work. Lyrical and engrossing, there are many themes parallel to his own life at the time: fraught mother, beautiful and subservient wife, decadent secret life of the Japanese homosexual underground. The existential end punctuates this almost journal-like tale.
am 15. Dezember 1999
I read this book with a lot of enthusiasm but found it essentially disappointing. The theme was interesting but I found the lead character of Yuichi Minami to be dislikeable and selfish. He seems the antitheis of the Japanese ideal. Mishima protrays him as a "beautiful" young man with little charm. All the characters who become involved with Minami(both male and female) fall for his beauty and instantly become infatuated. However, I couldn't understand his continued appeal after his uncaring treatment of them. I kept expecting/wanting bad things to happen to him. It seemed that his good looks alone carried him through his aimless, debauched life. At times I felt disgusted by his behavior. The ending was unexpected and twisted but I felt that Yuchan should have received a more "just" reward. I think it was worth reading and I would like to read more books by Mishima since I'm interested in Japanese culture.