MISHIMA: A Vision of the Void by Marguerite Yourcenar

MISHIMA: A Vision of the Void

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In an essay reviewing the life and works of the Japanese novelist, playwright, actor and leader of a militaristic/nationalistic cult, the author probes deeply in a sensitive study of a charismatic man who ended his life with a ritual disembowelment and beheading. The famous French writer avoids the obvious and the trite to look beyond the sensationalism of Mishima's death and his own theatricality. Mishima's background was comfortable and middle-class. His grandmother--a great influence on him--came from a noble family related to the Tokogawa Shogunate. His relationship with his family, his education and efforts at supporting himself with hack work are covered quickly, but impressively. Mishima's desire to see Japan turn in another direction was regarded by some as reactionary and even fascistic. To him, it meant rejuvenation and redemption for himself and his people. Combining the elements of savior, artist, priest and messiah, his life is one that can have many interpretations. The author writes with great clarity about this oriental Nietzsche. For those familiar with his work, this book will answer some questions but raise even more. Constantly evocative.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1986
ISBN: 0226965325
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux