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Tillabooks: Will's Book Blog

Monday, October 27, 2003

The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea by Yukio Mishima. Translated from the Japanese by John Nathan. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1965.

This book is both beautifully and frighteningly written. I don't know how to describe it other than to say that it is a kind of Japanese Lord of the Flies, a description which, however, doesn't do it justice. Thankfully the book stops just short of actually describing the ultimate act of violence towards which it ineluctably builds.

What else is there to say? To write that the book represents an existentialistic or even nihilistic reaction to life in post-war Japan, or to point out that the author committed seppuku at the age of 45, five years after the publication date of this book, would not probably say anything particularly relevant to any further understanding. I'm not sure that there is really anything relevant to say. You'd have had to have been thereā€”I mean, you'd need to have read the book.

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