The first novel in Mishima's masterful Sea of Fertility tetraology
SPRING SNOW is set in Tokyo on 1912, when the first 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. Among this rising new elite are the ambitious Matsugae, whose son has been raised in a family of the waning aristocracy, the elegant attenuated Ayakura. Coming of age, he is caught up in the tensions between old and new - fiercely loving and hating the exquisite, spirited Ayakura Satoko. He suffers in psychic paralysis until the shock of her engagement to a royal prince shows him the magnitude of his passion, and leads to a love affair that is as doomed as it was inevitable.
“An austere love story, probably my favourite of his novels”
David Mitchell, Independent on Sunday
“Mishima is the Japanese Hemingway”
“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's novels exude a monstrous and compulsive weirdness, and seem to take place in a kind of purgatory for the depraved”
“Romantic obsession and sexual intrigue meet in the sumptuous historical melodrama”