The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea ePUB ×

The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea I m in the process of reading Mishima s four book cycle, The Sea of Fertility I ve read the first two Sailor is not one of the cycle and I found it disappointing a bit of implausibility but maybe it s intended to beof a fantasy A thirteen year old boy discovers a peephole into his widowed mother s bedroom and watches her have sex with a sailor His mother, 33, and the sailor, about the same age, fall in love The sailor leaves the sea and they intend to get married.The boy is a memb I m in the process of reading Mishima s four book cycle, The Sea of Fertility I ve read the first two Sailor is not one of the cycle and I found it disappointing a bit of implausibility but maybe it s intended to beof a fantasy A thirteen year old boy discovers a peephole into his widowed mother s bedroom and watches her have sex with a sailor His mother, 33, and the sailor, about the same age, fall in love The sailor leaves the sea and they intend to get married.The boy is a member of an intellectual gang bright 13 year old kids, not thugs But they turn into thugs as their leader makes them do things like kill cats and skin them Although the boy admires the sailor and his sea stories, he also keeps a list of ways the sailor has embarrassed him in front of his friends with stupid jokes and stories and showering in the park under a drinking fountain He shows the list to the gang The boys are all under age 14 important because they know they cannot be charged with a serious crime at that time in Japan The gang hatches a plot to kill the sailor I just found it a stretch The blurbs say the book offers Mishima s vision of the homicidal hysteria that lies latent in the Japanese character Really Older photo of the port of Yokohama, where the story is set from shippingwondersoftheworld.comThe author from carlabrahamsson.com The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea tells the tale of a band of savage thirteen year old boys who reject the adult world as illusory, hypocritical and sentimental, and train themselves in a brutal callousness they call objectivity When the mother of one of them begins an affair with a ship s officer, he and his friends idealize the man at first but it is not long before they conclude that he is in fact soft and romantic They regard their disappointment in him as an act of betrayal on his part, and react violently This was a disturbing yet compelling read. If you re into stuff like this, you can read the full review.Performing in Silence The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea by Yukio Mishima Original Review, 1981 04 24 They performed in silence He trembled a little out of vanity, as when he had first scaled the mast The woman s lower body, like a hibernating animal half asleep, moved lethargically under the quilts he sensed the stars of night tilting dangerously at the top of the mast The stars slanted into the south, swung to the no If you re into stuff like this, you can read the full review.Performing in Silence The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea by Yukio Mishima Original Review, 1981 04 24 They performed in silence He trembled a little out of vanity, as when he had first scaled the mast The woman s lower body, like a hibernating animal half asleep, moved lethargically under the quilts he sensed the stars of night tilting dangerously at the top of the mast The stars slanted into the south, swung to the north, wheeled, whirled into the east, and seemed finally to be impaled on the tip of the mast By the time he realized this was a woman, it was done In The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea by Yukio Mishima.I ve read many scary books with frightening stories before and since, but they don t disturb me the way this book did The book was disturbing in a completely different way it felt as if it was talking about me, saying something that s scary yet true about me A sinister tale about dread, desire, and death, The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea reflects on the adolescent longing to abandon society and pursue solitary greatness The novel follows Noboru, a fatherless thirteen year old, and his gang of nihilistic friends as they wax philosophic about the corruption of men and obsess over his wealthy mother Fusako s new love interest, a reticent sailor named Ryuji, whom they alternately idealize and demonize While the story centers on Noboru, Mish A sinister tale about dread, desire, and death, The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea reflects on the adolescent longing to abandon society and pursue solitary greatness The novel follows Noboru, a fatherless thirteen year old, and his gang of nihilistic friends as they wax philosophic about the corruption of men and obsess over his wealthy mother Fusako s new love interest, a reticent sailor named Ryuji, whom they alternately idealize and demonize While the story centers on Noboru, Mishima switches between the viewpoints of the son, Fusako, and Ryuji, fully rendering the complexities of each s feelings toward the new romance All the men in the novel fret about greatness, impassivity, and isolation, and their storylines are counterpointed by Fusako s practical quest to build a stable life Written in austere, ornate prose from start to finish the novel ends with a tragic twist that brings the plot to a neat close THE SAILOR THE GLORY Glory, as anyone knows, is bitter stuff What glory is there for any sailor whose life is besieged by the vast and open sea Vast but not open, as there are occasional traces of clouds shrouding the openness he longed for Open but not vast, as the storm often come encroaching on his territory and posing a threat on his otherwise serene life His Life and sea have become inseparable Thinking of life beyond her seems abysmal to him Impelled by his desire for glory, he THE SAILOR THE GLORY Glory, as anyone knows, is bitter stuff What glory is there for any sailor whose life is besieged by the vast and open sea Vast but not open, as there are occasional traces of clouds shrouding the openness he longed for Open but not vast, as the storm often come encroaching on his territory and posing a threat on his otherwise serene life His Life and sea have become inseparable Thinking of life beyond her seems abysmal to him Impelled by his desire for glory, he continues sailing to distant harbors and seas.There is no glory to be found Disillusionment slowly and unknowingly start gnawing his yearning for glory The thought of settling for an earthly life seems appalling, blowing off the gentle light which awaits him for his prophetic glory But, then comes a lady, Fusako who lost her husband few years ago So, categorically a widow having a 13 year old son , like a bright sun on a gloomy day But not all clouds have withdrawn yet Storms await eagerly for his departure like vultures waiting on cliffs for their prey The sun is not just enough He longs for storms on sunny days, but he misses the sun on rainy days He has changed He is a new man He belongs neither to the sea nor to the land There is no solace for his solstice Blinded by his earthly love, he is ready to abandon his glory and his first love the sea, not knowing what awaits him on the land Ryuji set sailing towards the shore hoping for a new life which, he believes, will free him.THE SON THE FALLThe sailor is terrific He s like a fantastic beast that s just come out of the sea all dripping wet , thinks Noboru, the son of Fusako The sailor has become someone who this kid greatly admires The intimacy between his mother and the sailor has grown stronger and closer He finds a peephole, not just allegorically, which gives him access to their cohabitational world But the world in which the sailor and Fusako lived made him feel disgusted The insignificance and unworthiness of their coital activities alienated him farther from their worldIt is a trap a rabbit trap A hideously subtle trap the rabbit, ensnared, is no longer a rabbitNow, what brings him to the land in this dandy western attire chosen by his mother It is so strange, he thinks, like his mother s bedroom into which he sneaked, when she was away.PEVERSION AND PRESERVATIONDon t you realize that there is no such thing as heroThe sailor who, once, he admired as hero begins to falter The grace and honor of Ryuji which once was stronger like the sea wave and roaring like a majestic tiger , he thinks, now has become like a sea foam abandoned on the shore and a cry of a kitten smacked against a log Trying to force maturity on a thirteen year old boy Maturity or Perversion Noboru grows disquieted in the world which his parents, teachers, and leaders have created for him The vast gaps and the emptiness in it make him lose faith in the filthy humanity as he sees it Noboru feels that he has to preserve the glory The sailor sees that gloryknifing toward him like a shark from some great distanceAnd the world, as you know, is empty Is there any happiness in this world, in true sense Happiness that defies description Noboru takes the sailor with him to make him aware of how incorrigible his decision to return to the land is and how egregiously he reacted when Noboru s innocence was shattered behind the peephole I tried not to reveal most of the elements of the story which would either surprise or disturb the reader In fact, Noboru is the protagonist But the sailor is the one who makes him the protagonist Hence, my view is totally from the sailor s perspective This story has a lot of things which we wouldn t agree or even despise Nevertheless this story is really important for everyone, if I may say, all parents though I am not one The titleThe Sailor Who Fell from Grace With the Seais a poetic rendering of the Japanese literally Afternoon s Towing The English translation is done much in the spirit ofRemembrance of Things PastA la recherche du temps perdu In Search of Lost Time It s evident in the titles at least that something is gained in translation as well as lost We know then, at any rate, that we are going to have a very imperfect understanding of this book And even if we know Japanese h The titleThe Sailor Who Fell from Grace With the Seais a poetic rendering of the Japanese literally Afternoon s Towing The English translation is done much in the spirit ofRemembrance of Things PastA la recherche du temps perdu In Search of Lost Time It s evident in the titles at least that something is gained in translation as well as lost We know then, at any rate, that we are going to have a very imperfect understanding of this book And even if we know Japanese history, know something of Mishima s life, know his personal use of symbols and allusion all these hover around the writing merely as clues to the WTF shock of this story and to the allegory contained withinThe Sailor Who Fell from Grace With the Sea is a simple story It is not an easy story There is power here, but be warned it s not all pretty kittens and seascapes Rather, it s a tearing apart of what Contentment Surfaces Materialism Or maybe just anything that makes us forget what we are There s a disturbing scene, meant to kill the tender feelings of the participants They become hardened against the flesh, the blood, the organs The mortal coil unwinds Hard heart, hard heart Was it done to the characters, or done to us I think of X Trapnel s maxim, Reading novels needs almost as much talent as writing them Perhaps it needs courage too I m not a brave reader, but a writer will sometimes grab you by the head and force you to look at things you don t want to see And you do look the writing is lyrical and it is beautiful However the characters are stiff and wooden, their roles each neatly carved out by Mishima Are they supposed to be masks, types, everyman The sailor, Ryuji, is convinced that he is destined for glory He could feel the horn probing deep inside him, rousing his passion for the Grand Cause But what was it Maybe another name for the tropical sun The boy, Noboru, is convinced of his own greatness He follows the gang leader, the chief who has a smile as brittle as fine glass crystal, and very dangerous And Fusako the mother, the widow, the lover So easily brought to tears She studies herself in the mirror as if asking, who am I She is caught between running a business, and quiet domestic life doing embroidery, worrying about her son When she had brushed against reality it is something she dreadedthan leeches She arouses a conflict in Ryuji His will is weakening For Ryuji the kiss was death, the very death in love he always dreamed of The softness of her lips, her mouth so crimson in the darkness he could see it with closed eyes, so infinitely moist, a tepid coral sea, her restless tongue quivering like sea grass in the dark rapture of all this was something directly linked to death He was perfectly aware that he would leave her in a day, yet he was ready to die happily for her sake Death roused inside him, stirred Perhaps Fusako is something worse for her son for what created Noboru Here, I m not even sure of the questions, never mind if there are answers Again, some disturbing scenes It s related to the connection between him and her room, giving light or sometimes not The room as a whole, feverish with a vestige of the noon heat, was as black as the inside of a large coffin, everywhere a shade of darkness, and alive with jostling particles of something Noboru had never seen, the blackest thing in all the world The world is empty Noboru has a problem with Ryuji, and he takes it to the gang.They schemeMake him a hero again a useless thing, a father no return to the Tepid towns of men And Mishima grabs hold of you, forces you to look Maybe you re not sure what it is that he makes you see, but you won t like it.Glory is bitter stuff 7 10 It is a generally accepted fact that teenagers are weird, all over the world, and all over the ages Somehow, Japanese teenagers manage to be ten time weirder than the norm, and 13 years old Noboru is a prime exampleHe never cried, not even in his dreams, for hard heartedness was a point of pride A large iron anchor withstanding the corrosion of the sea and scornful of the barnacles and oysters that harass the hulls of ships, sinking polished and indifferent through heaps of broken glas 7 10 It is a generally accepted fact that teenagers are weird, all over the world, and all over the ages Somehow, Japanese teenagers manage to be ten time weirder than the norm, and 13 years old Noboru is a prime exampleHe never cried, not even in his dreams, for hard heartedness was a point of pride A large iron anchor withstanding the corrosion of the sea and scornful of the barnacles and oysters that harass the hulls of ships, sinking polished and indifferent through heaps of broken glass, toothless combs, bottle caps, and prophylactics into the mud at harbor bottom that was how he liked to imagine his heart Someday he would have an anchor tattooed on his chestNoboru has fallen in with a gang of young nihilists, all of an age, believing themselves infinitely wise and incorruptible, rising above the petty concerns of mundane living into the lofty spaces of pure intellect This group philosophy is coming into conflict with hisnatural inclination for adventure and discovery of unknown territories, illustrated in Noboru s enthusiasm for everything related to shipping As the Kuroda family, Noboru and his mother Fusako, live in the port city of Yokohama, this passion is easily sustained, leading to the opening scene of the novel mother and son visit a cargo trawler and meet there with Ryuji Tsukazaki, an officer on the shipThat was their first encounter She would never forget his eyes as he confronted her in the corridor Deep set in the disgruntled, swarthy face, they sought her out as though she were a tiny spot on the horizon, the first sign of a distant ship That, at least, was the feeling she had Eyes viewing an object so near had no business piercing that way, focusing so sharply without leagues of sea between them, it was unnatural She wondered if all eyes that endlessly scanned the horizon were that way Unlooked for signs of a ship descried misgivings and delight, wariness and expectation the sighted vessel just barely able to forgive the affront because of the vast reach of sea between them a ravaging gaze The sailor s eyes made her shudder Without Noboru as a critical disruptive element, the story could have developed into a lovely, delicate romance of two solitary people meeting like ships on the immensity of the ocean and weaving their fate together Fusako is still mourning her husband while taking care of a very succesful fashion business Ryuji is getting on in years, and his early enthusiasm for the ascetic and demanding life of a commercial sailor is beginning to fade Mishima has an uncanny talent for multilayered metaphorical phrases, rich in symbolism, transforming his actors into archetypal figures It is easy to see Ullyses in the wandering Ryuji and Penelope in the level headed, faithfull FusakoSince dark antiquity the words have been spoken by women of every caste to sailors in every port words of docile acceptance of the horizon s authority, of reckless homage to that mysterious azure boundary words never failing to bestow on even the haughtiest woman the sadness, the hollow hopes, and the freedom of the whore You ll be leaving in the morning, won t you The sea itself becomes part of the story, maybe the best use of metaphor here for the dreams and aspirations and states of mind of the characters the widowmaker in the eyes of Fusako, the ever changing mistress in those of Ryuji, the siren song in the ears of Noboru, both the ultimate cleanser and the garbage collector in the minds of the teenage anarchistsIt was the sea that made me begin thinking secretly about lovethan anything else you know, a love worth dying for, or a love that consumes you To a man locked up in a steel ship all the time, the sea is too much like a woman Things like her lulls and storms, or her caprice, or the beauty of her breast reflecting the setting sun, are all obvious More than that, you re in a ship that mounts the sea and rides her and yet is constantly denied her It s the old saw about miles and miles of lovely water and you can t quench your thirstRyuji The feeling of witnessing a Greek tragedy unfold is reinforced every time the point of view switches to Noboru and his Oedipal obsessions killing the father, sleeping with the mother Add a touch of Holden Caulfield and a pinch of Rodion Raskolnikov and you end up with an explosive mix of teenage angstThere s no such thing as a good father because the role itself is bad Strict fathers, soft fathers, nice moderate fathers one s as bad as another They stand in the way of our progress while they try to burden us with their inferiority complexes, and their unrealized aspirations, and their resentments, and their ideals, and the weaknesses they ve never told anyone about, and their sins, and their sweeter than honey dreams, and the maxims they ve never had the courage to live by they d like to unload all that silly crap on us, all of it I was conflicted myself in my reaction to the novel I liked the prose of Mishima well enough, although not as much as Murakami or Kawabata may be due to the translation , and I admired the way he mixed the contemporary story with the archetypal images of mother, son, wanderer I may be reading too much in the story, probably due to a parallel lecture of Joseph Campbell on myths and psychoanalysis, but I like to think Mishima did it on purpose Most of my issues come from wanting to beat the crap out of Noboru, despite some uncomfortable memories of being myself a wiseass and a major pain to my parents at 13 And from a reluctance to subscribe fully to the Japanese preoccupation with death and predestination Lastly, I very much prefer the original title Afternoon Towing to the cute choice of the English publisher.Would I try another Yukio Mishima book yes, probably, but not as a priority This eerie yet mesmerising little novel recounts, on the surface level, a sailor s relationship through the eyes of his new beloved s teen son, Noboru In reality, this novel betrays so muchabout a nation s way of thinking about and viewing the world, and the disruption of this when increasingly westernised modes of living interfere.The sailor, to teen Noboru, represents glory, valiance, and the independence of spirit Noboru belongs to a band of peers with extremely traditional opinions o This eerie yet mesmerising little novel recounts, on the surface level, a sailor s relationship through the eyes of his new beloved s teen son, Noboru In reality, this novel betrays so muchabout a nation s way of thinking about and viewing the world, and the disruption of this when increasingly westernised modes of living interfere.The sailor, to teen Noboru, represents glory, valiance, and the independence of spirit Noboru belongs to a band of peers with extremely traditional opinions on the concept of valour and combine with this the pressure to separate emotion from action they view the world through coolly glazed eyes and work on constructing a mentality to match When the sailor fails to deliver to them the illustrious figure constructed largely from distance and imagination, harsh measures are enacted against him for these envisaged failures.Despite being quite a slow moving work, this felt doused with an ominous air that added tension to every taut movement and suspense to every drawn out, heat soaked day that passed without incident With this minimal action, focus is issued to the mentality of the limited characters involved in this tragic saga It is an interesting insight to a culture and time period, as well as to the individuals themselves.Despite the harrowing subject confronted, the writing was of pure and sublime beauty The juxtaposition of the two only served to heighten their extremes and ensured I was captivated and entranced throughout It must be me, not him Had the author been anyone other than Mishima, I would have abandoned this novel immediately after view spoiler the intentional, cruel murder and mutilation of a kitten hide spoiler But instead I continued and finished it and wish I could recover my time Heresy, I understand See my GR friend, Algernon s, review at this link He captures my thoughts precisely It must be me, not him Had the author been anyone other than Mishima, I would have abandoned this novel immediately after view spoiler the intentional, cruel murder and mutilation of a kitten hide spoiler But instead I continued and finished it and wish I could recover my time Heresy, I understand See my GR friend, Algernon s, review at this link He captures my thoughts precisely


About the Author: Yukio Mishima

Yukio Mishima was born in Tokyo in 1925 He graduated from Tokyo Imperial University s School of Jurisprudence in 1947 His first published book, The Forest in Full Bloom, appeared in 1944 and he established himself as a major author with Confessions of a Mask 1949 From then until his death he continued to publish novels, short stories, and plays each year His crowning achievement, the Sea of Fertility tetralogy which contains the novels Spring Snow 1969 , Runaway Horses 1969 , The Temple of Dawn 1970 , and The Decay of the Angel 1971 is considered one of the definitive works of twentieth century Japanese fiction In 1970, at the age of forty five and the day after completing the last novel in the Fertility series, Mishima committed seppuku ritual suicide a spectacular death that attracted worldwide attention.


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