Spring Snow (Sea of Fertility #1)

Spring Snow (Sea of Fertility #1)

by Yukio Mishima


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Yukio Mishima’s Spring Snow is the first novel in his masterful tetralogy, The Sea of Fertility. Here we meet Shigekuni Honda, who narrates this epic tale of what he believes are the successive reincarnations of his friend, Kiyoaki Matsugae.
It is 1912 in Tokyo, and the hermetic world of the ancient aristocracy is being breached for the first time by outsiders — rich provincial families unburdened by tradition, whose money and vitality make them formidable contenders for social and political power. Shigekuni Honda, an aspiring lawyer and his childhood friend, Kiyoaki Matsugae, are the sons of two such families. As they come of age amidst the growing tensions between old and new, Kiyoaki is plagued by his simultaneous love for and loathing of the spirited young woman Ayakura Satoko. But Kiyoaki’s true feelings only become apparent when her sudden engagement to a royal prince shows him the magnitude of his passion — and leads to a love affair both doomed and inevitable.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780679722410
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/14/1990
Series: Sea of Fertility Series , #1
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 112,616
Product dimensions: 5.18(w) x 7.98(h) x 0.69(d)
Lexile: 1160L (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.

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Spring Snow (Sea of Fertility #1) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Beautiful. Elegant. Heart-wrenching. Lovely in its simplicity. The other reviewers have touched on each of these things, and rightly so. The novel develops at a perfectly gentle pace, allowing for the characters to be completely fleshed out and three-dimensional. Every action in this book, while not necessarily agreeable, seem natural and realistic. A wonderful portrait of the Japanese mentalité in a time of great change and conflicting ideologies, 'Spring Snow' finds the core of humanity and illustrates it accordingly. A truly marvelous work.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book was beautifully written. The author's creative use of imagery and colorful characters intensified this surprising story even more. As someone who has grown to appreciate the work of Japanese novelists, I highly encourage everyone to take interest in this particular book. The writing is presented as simple yet the story contributes an elegant quality that makes it easy for the reader to understand and appreciate what the writer is trying to convey.
amandacb on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A very maudlin and, at times, overwhelming book in its persistent psychoanalysis of every thought of the characters. I adore Mishima's short stories and therefore was eager to read this first of a tetralogy; however, I had to drag myself through it. The male protagonist is thoroughly unlikeable, as he is narcissistic and selfish, which made it difficult for me to become involved in the plotline.
mbattenberg on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
By far the best of the 4 in the series. I read it back in the early 80's, and of the 4, this is the one I am considering to read again.
kwohlrob on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
After reading "Death in Midsummer," I started to explore Mishima's novels and started with Spring Snow. In some ways, it reminds me of Edith Wharton or Tolstoy, that ability to capture the whole of a society in a book, to show all its foibles, conflicts, and prejudices. Mishima's prose is always sharp and cutting, but underneath it all is that sadness, his disappointment in the state of Japan at the time of the novel's writing.
poetontheone on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A beautiful work. A tale of love so tragic and immense, that it's meaning transcends any labels and strikes the deepest chords of human emotion. A pain jabs at my heart, now, upon completing it. No doubt a cornerstone of Japanese Literature. I am now eager to read he rest of the tetralogy.
mbmackay on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Combined review for Spring Snow, Runaway Horses, The Temple of Dawn and The decay of the Angel - which together make up the Sea of Fertility.Spring Snow succeeds for me only for its painting of a lost period in Japan - of the privileged and their privileges. In other ways it fails - the obsession with 'elegance' and 'good movements' and 'beauty' leaves me no wiser as the causes and principles involved.Runaway Horses moves forward 20 years, to a second incarnation of the principal of these stories. Again fails to to convince as the source and power of the obsessions (Japan-ness. ritual suicide etc). At the end, we know they exist, but not why. The Temple of Dawn is the weakest of the four books with turgid page after turgid page of Buddhist and other religious exposition. Is this a cheap cure for writer's block? The reincarnation this time is as Thai princess. Remarkably, the main character, Honda, becomes a hardcore voyeur halfway through this volume. The voyeuristic writing is good - it is almost as if Mishima wanted to get this writing out, and Honda was the available character!The Decay of the Angel is the shortest volume (running out of things to say?) and again fails to deliver. The latest incarnation is Angel-like(!). Spare me. The most remarkable aspect is Mishima's ritual suicide on the day he finished writing this last volume. If he was aiming for immortality, all he achieved was a quirky footnote to literary history.
technodiabla on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Spring Snow was a little slow getting started, but worthwhile in the end. Mishima's writing (translated by Michael Gallagher) is pure poetry-- some of the most perfect descriptions of nature I've ever read. The story itself is a standard first love tragedy (a Japanese Romeo and Juliet of sorts), which is not really my cup of tea. The youth were characteristically melodramatic and immature and the female characters were one-dimensional. The window into Pre-WWII Japanese society and culture was very interesting, but Mishima's writing was really the highlight that makes this book special. I plan to read through the whole Tetralogy.
chrisadami on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If you want to start reading Mishima, start with this one (the first of the tetralogy), or with "Sailor". A superb, poetic translation.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I was pretty excited when I first bought this book for school. Little did I know that I would be appalled once reading it!! It was an absolutely terribly written book! I gave it to my friend to get her opinion and we are in complete agreement that this is the WORST book we have ever read!