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.
“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”
“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 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”