The first novel in Mishima's masterful Sea of Fertility tetraology
Tokyo, 1912. The closed world of the ancient aristocracy is being breached for the first time by outsiders - rich provincial familes, a new and powerful political and social elite.
Kiyoaki has been raised among the elegant Ayakura family - members of the waning aristocracy - but he is not one of them. Coming of age, he is caught up in the tensions between old and new, and his feelings for the exquisite, spirited Sakoto, observed from the sidelines by his devoted friend Honda. When Sakoto is engaged to a royal prince, Kiyoaki realises the magnitude of his passion.
“Romantic obsession and sexual intrigue meet in the sumptuous historical melodrama”
“An austere love story, probably my favourite of his novels”
David Mitchell, Independent on Sunday
“Mishima is the Japanese Hemingway”
“This tetralogy is considered one of Yukio Mishima's greatest works. It could also be considered a catalogue of Mishima's obsessions with death, sexuality and the samurai ethic. Spanning much of the 20th century, the tetralogy begins in 1912 when Shigekuni Honda is a young man and ends in the 1960s with Honda old and unable to distinguish reality from illusion. En route, the books chronicle the changes in Japan that meant the devaluation of the samurai tradition and the waning of the aristocracy.”
“Mishima's novels exude a monstrous and compulsive weirdness, and seem to take place in a kind of purgatory for the depraved”