I didn’t get a WordsDay up on Thursday, so I’m doing it today. Sue me.
I first picked up The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea because of the title, which was waaaaaaay too interesting to pass up. It was 1995, and the first Vintage International edition of Yukio Mishima’s book had just been issued in the U.S. only the year before. It was my first foray into 20th century Japanese literature, and it promised to be intriguing.
The back cover provided a hint at something wildly sinister: “a band of savage thirteen-year-old boys who reject the adult world as illusory, hypocritical, and sentimental, and train themselves in a brutal callousness the call ‘objectivity.’ When the mother of one of them begins an affair with a ship’s officer, he and his friends idealize the man at first; but it is not long before they conclude that he is in fact soft and romantic. They regard their disappointment in him as an act of betrayal on his part, and react violently.” Continue reading