Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Decay of the Angel by Yukio Mishima 1970 Book Four of The Sea of Fertility Tetrology

Yukio Mishima is one of the acknowledged by all masters of post WWII Japanese literature. I have read all the others novels in The Sea of Fertility Tetrology, several of his plays and short stories as well as other novels.  Post WWII Japanese literature is one of my core interests.  (There is background data on Mishima in my other posts on him.)   He and Kenzaburo Oe, who I do put above him, are my highest regarded Japanese authors, so far of the 100 or so I have read.  

The Decay of the Angel probably will only be read by hard core devotees of his work who have read the first three books in The Sea of Fertility Tetrology.  It is a book only for those really into his work. It is the most "philosophical" of his books I have yet read.  At times it did seem he was cudgeling me with his views on beauty, death, cultural decay and the decadence of society.  

I have said before that the dominant theme of the post World War Two Japanese novel is the impact of Japan's defeat in the war.  Japan did not just lose a war, the fundamental belief structure of their society was destroyed and nothing has emerged to take its place.  This is what is behind Mishima.  Mishima is an artist, not a rigorous logician and if pushed his ideas may emerge as incoherent but it is the incoherence of the Sea of Fertility in 6000 year old near atavistic faiths.  


JoV said...

Glad you complete the tetralogy. Not sure if there is a day I will do so, but recently I have downloaded all four into my Kindle.

Not one good review I have seen for the last instalment. Would reading the first few without reading the rest be an issue?

Mel u said...

JoV- I only read through the last book for the sake of completion, no issues in skipping it