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About the book
  • Published: 1 July 2010
  • ISBN: 9781407053530
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 432

Runaway Horses

The second novel in Mishima's masterful Sea of Fertility tetraology

RUNAWAY HORSES is the chronicle of a conspiracy, a novel about the roots and nature of Japanese fanaticism in the years that led to war - an era marked by depression, the upheaval of radical social change, political violence, and assassination.
Isao, the driven hero, is a young, engaging patriot fanatic. His father, a corrupt and temporising spouter of nationalist pieties, instils in him the ancient samurai ethos. In its service Isao organises a violent plot against the new industrialists who he believes are usurping the Emporer's rightful power and threatning the very integrity fo Japan. As the conspiracy unfolds - and ultimately unravels - Mishima brilliantly dramatises the conflicts of a decade that saw the fabric of Japanese life torn apart.

  • Pub date: 1 July 2010
  • ISBN: 9781407053530
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 432

About the Author

Yukio Mishima

Yukio Mishima was born into a samurai family and imbued with the code of complete control over mind and body, and loyalty to the Emperor – the same code that produced the austerity and self-sacrifice of Zen. He wrote countless short stories and thirty-three plays, in some of which he acted. Several films have been made from his novels, including The Sound of Waves; Enjo, which was based on The Temple of the Golden Pavilion; and The Sailor Who Fell From Grace with the Sea. Among his other works are the novels Confessions of a Mask and Thirst For Love and the short-story collections Death in Midsummer and Acts of Worship.

The Sea of Fertility tetralogy, however, is his masterpiece. After Mishima conceived the idea of The Sea of Fertility in 1964, he frequently said he would die when it was completed. On November 25th, 1970, the day he completed The Decay of the Angel, the last novel of the cycle, Mishima committed seppuku (ritual suicide) at the age of forty-five.

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Praise for Runaway Horses

“In Runaway Horses Mishima writes of a desire to destroy or subvert beauty at its height, thus strengthening its appeal and preventing its slow decay”

New York Times

“One of the great writers of the twentieth century”

Los Angeles Times

“Mishima's novels exude a monstrous and compulsive weirdness, and seem to take place in a kind of purgatory for the depraved”

Angela Carter

“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”

Washington Post

“Mishima succeeded, unlike any other writer before him, in creating a glittering alloy of Eastern and Western traditions, classical and contemporary forms”

New York Times

“Japan's foremost man of letters”


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