Across the years, I finally finished Yukio Mishima’s Sea of Fertility Tetralogy (and finally got the chance to brag about it here.)
The tetralogy is composed of:
– Spring Snow
– Runaway Horses
– The Temple of Dawn
– The Decay of the Angel
I would describe the books as anything but a feel-good, but they are indeed beautiful and intriguing.
The storyline basically tells of a man’s journey through his life, a rather bland one for him if not colored by what he perceives as the perpetual ghost of his teenage friend, continuously re-born as various personalities.
My favorite out of the four, as I have observed in the net, is apparently the same as many other readers: the first one. Perhaps it is because its the most light hearted of the series, given the young age of the main character at that time.
While the second was also fascinating in historical terms, since it focused on Japan’s history and Samurai ethics, the dwellings on eastern philosophy in The Temple of Dawn was a bit too much for me, and while the other second characters were colorful, the Thai princess in the Temple was less so.
As for the ending? Totally unpredictable. I am actually still struck dumb and is yet to determine whether I like it or not. It did, however, gave me a very uneasy pang in the chest.
Aside from the impressive storyline and the richness of the references used, the series also excels in its language and the exceptional physical descriptions-I found this as one of the qualities you find in most Japanese writers.
I only wish my Japanese was better so I can read the original versions.