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Death in Midsummer and Other Stories by Yukio Mishima

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Recognized throughout the world for his brilliance as a novelist and playwright, Yukio Mishima is also noted as a master of the short story in his native Japan, where the form is practiced as a major art. Nine of his finest stories were selected by Mishima himself for translation in this book; they represent his extraordinary ability to depict, with deftness and penetration, a wide variety of human beings in moments of significance. Often his characters are sophisticated modern Japanese who turn out to be not so liberated from the past as they had thought.

In the title story, "Death in Midsummer," which is set at a beach resort, a triple tragedy becomes a cloud of doom that requires exorcising. In another, "Patriotism," a young army officer and his wife choose a way of vindicating their belief in ancient values that is as violent as it is traditional; it prefigured his own death by seppuku in November 1970. There is a story in which the sad truth of the relationship between a businessman and his former mistress is revealed through a suggestion of the unknown, and another in which a working-class couple, touching in their simple love for each other, pursue financial security by rather shocking means.

Also included is one of Mishima's "modern Nō plays," remarkable for the impact which its brevity and uncanny intensity achieve. The English versions have been done by four outstanding translators: Donald Keene, Ivan Morris, Geoffrey Sargent, and Edward Seidensticker.

Product details

Goodreads rating: 4.04

Condition: Used - acceptable 

Format: Mass-market paperback, 192 pages

Dimensions: 111 x 178 x 10mm, 98g

Publication date: 28 Oct 1971

Publisher: Penguin Books

ISBN-13: 9780140033229