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Paperback Sound of Waves Book

ISBN: 0399504877

ISBN13: 9780399504877

Sound of Waves

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Format: Paperback

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Book Overview

Set in a remote fishing village in Japan, The Sound of Waves is a timeless story of first love. A young fisherman is entranced at the sight of the beautiful daughter of the wealthiest man in the village. They fall in love, but must then endure the calumny and gossip of the villagers.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

A Charming and Well-Written Novel

Yukio Mishima wrote The Sound of Waves following a visit to Greece and his immersion in the literature of ancient Greece. His fascination with the Mediterranean world and his affection for ancient literature (in particular, Daphnis and Chloe) is reflected in this sunny novel. He produced a very approachable and charming story about a island fishing village, and it is no wonder that this book was the first selected for translation into English in 1956 (published in Japan in 1954). The novel centers around Shinji, a young fisherman, and Hatsue, who had been given away by her father Terukichi but was called back by him when his son died so he could marry his daughter and adopt the husband into his family. The story follows what one would expect in a small village where everyone is known and gossip abounds. It is assumed that Hatsue will marry Yasuo, who is from a family that is well off whereas Shinji is poor. Love, however, takes a different hand and when Shinji and Hatsue see each other something begins that cannot be stopped. Of course, there are obstacles in their way and Terukichi places his daughter under house arrest because of the gossip that has grown over their relationship. But the reader understands early that Shinji is bound to triumph over adversity and win Hatsue because his character is noble and hard-working. I don't think anyone would doubt the end of the novel; it is the character development and Mishima's powers of description that keep your attention. What adds so much to this novel is Mishima's description of island life. For example, he brilliantly describes the women divers who struggle to bring up abalone and notes how they cut their toes when they use their foot to push off the sea floor. We also have descriptions of the men of the island relaxing in the bath-house, the meetings of the islands Young Men's Association and such mundane tasks as the women fetching water from the local spring. Mishima's fascination with the cultures of the Mediterranean did not last long and he repudiated The Sound of Waves. This novel may not be characteristic of Mishima's writing but it is a good place to start to get to know his writing before advancing on into Confessions of a Mask. The Sound of Waves is a lyrical and sunny book that deserves a high readership.

Good book

I found this book to be very unique, which is why i loved it so much. Though it's for a more mature audience. At my school it was such a controversial book because some of the sexual content. Though i'm glad that the teachers won the battle agains't the parents of banning it. That's what created the mood in the story, without it, it wouldn't be The Sound Of Waves. A very good romantic book, it will draw you in, you'll feel your in it.

Amazed that Mishima wrote this book

A subtle and masterfully told tale about two youths discovering love on a rural Japanese island. This book is very different from the other 5 or 6 Mishima novels I've read, but it is still beautifully constructed and skillfully rendered.The book explores themes of innocence, loyalty, fidelity to tradition and the transition from adolescence to adulthood. Despite the lack of "action" in the book, the story is still riveting because of the chasm between rumor and truth that the protagonists must cross.Mishima definately adds a unique twist at the end that is sure to irritate some and I was a bit perplexed about it myself for a while. Then I remembered this is a Mishima novel and we certainly wouldn't expect anything less from a man capable of such grave seriousness, outlandish specatcles and biting humor.

Swept away by the "Sound of Waves"

Few books accurately capture the feeling of first love the way Yukio Mishima's "The Sound of Waves" does. Set in a small Japanese fishing village in the mid-20th century, this is a beautiful story that will charm the romantic at heart with its simplicity and intensity.Shinji is a poor young fisherman, living with his widowed mother and relatively carefree. That changes when he sees a lovely young pearl-diver named Hatsue looking out to sea. Shinji soon finds that he can't get Hatsue out of his mind; he's fallen in love, for the very first time. She soon falls in love with him as well -- it's first love for them both, and for a few days everything seems fine.But things start to go wrong when an unhappy young girl sees the two of them leaving a secluded spot. Soon rumors are spread about Hatsue and Shinji's relationship, and the arrogant Yasuo even physically chases Hatsue when she is getting water. When Hatsue's overprotective father forbids her to see Shinji again, and seems about to betroth her to Yasuo, Shinji has only one chance to be reunited with his love.Generally the word "romance" conjures images of busty half-naked women being held in impossible positions by chiseled he-men with torn shirts. But "Sound of Waves" is genuine romance, about the sort of love that any person could experience if they are open to it, in any part of the world. He is also one of the few authors who can convey the joy and pain of being in love. Not to mention the exalted way one can feel, without losing sight of their humanity: Shinji and Hatsue definitely have hormones, but keep them in check. There's a kind of mature innocence to how these two interact.Yukio Mishima's writing is both brief and detailed. Simple and descriptive, evoking the wind, sea, trees, and shorelines. The story is a simple one (boy meets girl, girl and boy fall in love, boy and girl are separated, etc), but its simplicity is part of its appeal. There are even some things about pearl-diving and fishing included, to give a glimpse of the lives that Hatsue, Shinji and their families live.The best thing abou this brief novel is the lead characters. Shinji is a shy, inexperienced, capable teenage boy, not a confident stud. Hatsue captures his attention not through mere physical beauty (though she sounds quite pretty), but through her sweetness. The wannabe-playboy, and the "ugly" girl who wistfully falls for Shinji, are like real people.This is romance as it should be written, beautiful and tender with lovable characters and haunting prose. What it lacks in complexity it makes up for in sweetness. A memorable and beautiful story.

A novel with two levels

Richard Hugo, an excellent poet and teacher, said that each poem has two subjects - the triggering subject (or the story), and the second, deeper subject. This holds true for many great works of literature, not just poems, and The Sound of Waves is no exception.On the surface, we have a subtly erotic love story about Shinji and Hatsue, two hard-working young Japanese people in a close-knit, isolated, traditional village. They go on with their romance despite ugly rumors which prompt Hatsue's father, Terukichi (known as "Uncle Teru") to forbid his daughter from seeing Shinji. There is a happy ending, but I won't give it away.This is more than your typical love story. The main characters, Shinji and Hatsue, are ideal Japanese people in the traditional, uncorrupted village: hard-working, devoted to the family, honest, and religious. The rumormongers are Westernized: Chiyoko - a pessimistic girl - is a student in western literature at a city university, and Yasuo - a rude, selfish, lazy boy who wants Hatsue for himself - is well-read in pulp magazines. It is traditional Japanese willpower and discipline that keeps Shinji and Hatsue together despite their obstacles.What is remarkable is that the book does not make its point with a sledgehammer. The traditional characters win out, not because they tattle or scream; their integrity forces the modern characters to face the errors of their modern ways. This book is almost as relavent to our changing America as it was to Mishima's changing Japan. One read-through and you will understand Mishima's patriotism, his long quest for a return to tradition that led to his seppuku.
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