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Chris Blocker

Literary snobbery and other thoughts by Chris Blocker

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Spring Snow: The Sea of Fertility, 1

Spring Snow - Yukio Mishima

Spring Snow is a novel that is about as perfect as they come—think Yin-Yang. It blends equal amounts of story, philosophy, and poetry, and keeps a wide focus on characters, story, romance, setting, language... Spring Snow shows Mishima's superb talents as an author. He pieced this story together with such a gorgeous landscape filled with the most vivid of descriptions. And though I found the second half of the book to be less riveting, it is still stitched together so nicely that I cannot complain.

Aside from the beautiful language Mishima used (have I mentioned that already?), I most enjoyed the destructive personality of the novel's primary character, Kiyoaki (I'm hesitant to say “protagonist” because, though I personally saw Kiyoaki as the protagonist, an argument could be made that it was Honda). Kiyoaki is an extremely confused, manipulative young man but Mishima never called him such. He didn't label him as being a victim of a psychological malady either by today's standard or the standard of the time. This may not be intentional, but given Mishima's precise handling of every sentence, I have to believe that he knew what he was doing. By not labeling Kiyoaki or even pointing out his eccentricities, it becomes difficult for the reader to not have conflicting feelings toward him, much as in the way Kiyoaki has conflicting feelings for every person he comes in contact with.

Spring Snow is a dark romance that shares much, in my mind, with Wuthering Heights. I wonder if elements of the second half of Emily Brontë's masterpiece will creep into some of the later books in this series, The Sea of Fertility. One thing that I do hope to see in one of the subsequent books is more about the Siamese princes. Their inclusion in Spring Snow did not seem vital. I hope, to keep with my belief that Mishima was very careful with every detail he included, they will serve a greater purpose later in the series.

I look forward to meeting Kiyoaki's reincarnated self in Runaway Horses. I think it will be interesting to see how Mishima took this character and reshaped him into a completely different one.