Yukio Mishima’s The Decay of the Angel is the final novel in his masterful tetralogy, The Sea of Fertility. It is the last installment of Shigekuni Honda’s pursuit of the successive reincarnations of his childhood friend Kiyoaki Matsugae.
It is the late 1960s and Honda, now an aged and wealthy man, once more encounters a person he believes to be a reincarnation of his friend, Kiyoaki — this time restored to life as a teenage orphan, Tōru. Adopting the boy as his heir, Honda quickly finds that Tōru is a force to be reckoned with. The final novel of this celebrated tetralogy weaves together the dominant themes of the previous three novels in the series: the decay of Japan’s courtly tradition; the essence and value of Buddhist philosophy and aesthetics; and, underlying all, Mishima’s apocalyptic vision of the modern era.
|Publisher:||Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
|Series:||Sea of Fertility Series , #4|
|Edition description:||1st Vintage International ed.--|
|Product dimensions:||5.20(w) x 7.94(h) x 0.51(d)|
|Lexile:||890L (what's this?)|
About the Author
Yukio Mishima was born in Tokyo in 1925. He graduated from Tokyo Imperial University’s School of Jurisprudence in 1947. His first published book, The Forest in Full Bloom, appeared in 1944 and he established himself as a major author with Confessions of a Mask (1949). From then until his death he continued to publish novels, short stories, and plays each year. His crowning achievement, The Sea of Fertility tetralogy—which contains the novels Spring Snow (1969), Runaway Horses (1969), The Temple of Dawn (1970), and The Decay of the Angel (1971)—is considered one of the definitive works of twentieth century Japanese fiction. In 1970, at the age of 45 and the day after completing the last novel in the Fertility series, Mishima committed seppuku (ritual suicide)—a spectacular death that attracted worldwide attention.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The last volume of the "Sea of Fertility" series. Mishima committed suicide on the day that he delivered the manuscript to his publisher (by first trying to overthrow the government, and committing seppukku after this failed and he was cornered). Again a different translator, but this one reads well. Here's an excerpt:"The sea lost its serenity. Even as it rose it broke at the skirts, and ragged spurts of white from its high belly like a call of inexpressible sorrow became a sharply smooth yet infinitely cracked glass, like a vast spray. As it rose and broke, the forelocks were combed a beautiful white, and as it fell it showed the neatly arrayed blue-white of its crown, and the lines of white became a solid field of white; and so it fell, like a severed head."
The synopsis of the book does not fully explain all the details. The book is a reflection on the westernization of Japan. Japan is the angel, which is being corrupted. When I read I am often grabbed by the use of language and its poetry. This book did this for me, the language is beautifully descriptive.