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Publisher's Summary

The first novel of Mishima's landmark tetralogy, The Sea of Fertility.

Spring Snow is set in Tokyo in 1912, when the 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 and 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.

©1972 Copyright 1972 by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. Originally published in Japan as Haru no Yuki by Shinchosha Company, Tokyo, in 1968. c. 1968 by Yukio Mishima (P)2010 Audible, Inc

Critic Reviews

"[The Sea of Fertility] is a literary legacy on the scale of Proust's." ( National Review)
"Mishima is like Stendhal in his precise psychological analyses, like Dostoevsky in his explorations of darkly destructive personalities." ( Christian Science Monitor)

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What listeners say about Spring Snow

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An extraordinary work.......

Wonderful and lyrical. With a canvas as broad as Mishima's hero Thomas Mann and writing as lyrical as Rilke. Very impressive.

Mishima who performed the ritual Seppukku on the afternoon of Nov 25, 1970, sealed and posted to his publisher the manuscript of The Sea of Fertility, a tetralogy of novels over which he had labored for five years. Unfortunately his magnum opus has always been occluded by his suicide. The four books – Spring Snow, Runaway Horses, The Temple of Dawn and The Decay of the Angel – are a saga of 20th-century Japan: a story of national decline that nonetheless proposes redemption through the endurance of a certain soul, forceful enough to be reborn ad-infinitum.

Spring Snow (volume 1 of this tetralogy) is set in 1912 and has shades of Lampedusa's-The Leopard). The main characters of this book are capricious Kiyoaki Matsugae, a baron's son of distant samurai descent, his friend Shigekuni Honda and Kiyoaki's love Satoko Ayakura.

The extraordinary beauty of this book lies in Mishima's intense portrayal of Kiyoaki as a dreamer, gripped by the sense that life's elusive fineness is slipping away by the second and longing to chase the impossible, to "bend the world" into the shape of his ideals. Of course tragedy is not far behind.

The narrator has done his job deftly.
I hope Audible will consider bringing out volumes 2, 3 and 4 of this transcendental work.

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Cliche if it wasn’t from the 60s

So it’s cliche, and predictable as can be. The biggest twist was how things happened not that they happened. There’s basically two stories going on, one that’s about a dumb boy falling love with a girl after many many opportunities to say hey like love her before she’s engaged with the prince but does not and so it’s a lot of pinning and destroying his family, her family, and their lives.

Story two is a bunch of philosophy. Ranges from post war politics, Buddhist philosophy, and perception on time. This was the bit I really enjoyed but sadly as the story gets rolling this part takes a big back seat leaving me with a quite boring main story that all I wanted was it to end.

So if you like predictable court dramas set in the Meiji era, check it out. If you like philosophy maybe plan to space out during large chunks of book.

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Terrible reader

I've listened to a lot of audiobooks over the years, and I have to say that the guy who reads this one is one of the worst readers I've ever heard. He reads in a total monotone -- like a machine -- with no hint that he understands the words he is reading. I had to stop listening -- not because I didn't like the story, but because I couldn't stand listening to this guy any longer.

2 people found this helpful

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Mishima was a genius. Really had a head on his shoulders!

I love this narrator with Mishimas work. I have the sound of waves that they did as well. Highly enjoyed both. PLEASE DO MORE MISHIMA!

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  • Al
  • 08-06-22

Overall totally annoying narration

Artificial vigorous emphases and pitch variations just to keep the narration “lively” are way too numerous and very annoying. So is grasping for air.

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Terrific!

More of Mishima’s work should be recorded on audio. It rivals Tolstoy, Monet, and Mozart.

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Exquisite

I read the plot with my "junk eye", the same eye with with I watch WWE wrestling, and loved the story. The main thing for me though was Mishima's exquisite language paragraph after paragraph that never lost freshness for me. I thought the numerous metaphors (could be similes because I've never been clear about the difference) were stunning and extremely effective in creating pictures in my mind.

I did though, tire of the insufferable parts of main boy's personality and behavior, the shallowness of other characters. In spite of this, Mishima's language was so lyrical that it effortlessly carried me through the entire long story. I really did enjoy this novel. Narrator Brian Nishii was excellent again.

Though some may find this novel dry and slow, many will likely find it fascinating, exhilarating, stunning and wonderful.

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A beautiful work

The story is a little slow but a beautiful work overall. This is a 4 part series yet only one of the books is on audible which kinda sucks.

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Dry nationalism

Mishima is sort of the Japanese Updike, very well written but on the most boring of subjects. In this case, rich kids and gardens.

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Japanese Philosophy

As an American with no philosophy background or knowledge of Japan this book was hard to understand but I believe if you have knowledge of Japanese history and philosophy this author is amazing at creating a story around it

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  • Olivier
  • 07-17-18

Great challenge with depth and layers.

I have been wanting to read Yukio Mishima’s works for a few years and spring snow was not a disappointment. Characters with depth and layers. Settings description was not overly done which kept me interested and receptive.

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  • David Armitage
  • 12-10-20

kiyoaki sucks

I couldn't feel sorry for Kiyoaki, in the end I was glad about what happened to him

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  • Curiosity informed the cat
  • 05-14-15

not my kind of story

I struggled to chapter 3. I don't find Japanese courtesan material very interesting. I don't feel in a position to judge it. The narration seemed appropriate.

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  • Shelley
  • 06-22-11

Disappointing

I couldn't get into this book at all. I found the depth of description of every aspect of each moment in the narrative distracted me so much from the story I couldn't follow it's thread. I persisted, hoping I'd get immersed in the story as I became more familiar with the characters. Unfortunately this didn't happen and I ended up giving up on it after the first few chapters. I wouldn't recommend it.

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