Runaway Horses (Sea of Fertility #2)

Runaway Horses (Sea of Fertility #2)

Paperback(1st Vintage International ed)

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Yukio Mishima’s Runaway Horses is the second novel in his masterful tetralogy, The Sea of Fertility. Again we encounter Shigekuni Honda, who narrates this epic tale of what he believes are the successive reincarnations of his childhood friend Kiyoaki Matsugae.
In 1932, Shigeuki Honda has become a judge in Osaka.  Convinced that a young rightist revolutionary, Isao, is the reincarnation of his friend Kiyoaki, Honda commits himself to saving the youth from an untimely death. Isao, driven to patriotic fanaticism by a father who instilled in him the ethos of the ancient samurai, organizes a violent plot against the new industrialists who he believes are usurping the Emperor’s rightful power and threatening the very integrity of the nation. Runaway Horses is the chronicle of a conspiracy — a novel about the roots and nature of Japanese fanaticism in the years that led to war.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780679722403
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/14/1990
Series: Vintage International Series , #2
Edition description: 1st Vintage International ed
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 153,466
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 8.00(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Yukio Mishima was born in Tokyo in 1925. He graduated from Tokyo Imperial University’s School of Jurisprudence in 1947. His first published book, The Forest in Full Bloom, appeared in 1944 and he established himself as a major author with Confessions of a Mask (1949). From then until his death he continued to publish novels, short stories, and plays each year. His crowning achievement, The Sea of Fertility tetralogy—which contains the novels Spring Snow (1969), Runaway Horses (1969), The Temple of Dawn (1970), and The Decay of the Angel (1971)—is considered one of the definitive works of twentieth century Japanese fiction. In 1970, at the age of 45 and the day after completing the last novel in the Fertility series, Mishima committed seppuku (ritual suicide)—a spectacular death that attracted worldwide attention.

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Runaway Horses (Sea of Fertility #2) 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
technodiabla on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book takes some time and patience but is ultimately worthwhile. First of all, no one can describe the natural beauty of Japan and all things Japanese like Mishima. The story itself is somewhat one dimensional and predictable, but the characters are well developed archetypes that slowly reveal something innately Japanese as the tale unfolds. This book is about gaining new understanding and appreciation for a culture, its history, and people. It's not about enjoying a nice story-- Mishima's stories are neither nice nor enjoyable.I read Spring Snow some time ago and I see now that the tetralogy as a whole is going to be much more than the sum of its parts. I would highly recommend reading them all, and definitely in order. Not only do the characters and plot flow from one book to the next, but the shifts in the culture is what the books are really about-- and you have to read them all too see this. (I'm taking a break but will read the next in a couple of months). An odd note: If you get a chance to see or read Patriotism (short story and short film by Mishima) I think it provides some good insights into seppuku which is essential to Runaway Horses. I still cannot understand this form of honor but I did walk away knowing that it's real.
deebee1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is an intense, complex novel written by one of Japan's foremost modern writers as the second book in the Sea of Fertility tetralogy. Considered as the strongest book in the series, it is set in the early 1930s and deals with Japanese fanaticism in the years that led to war. The story revolves around a young patriot-fanatic, steeped in bushido (samurai code of conduct), who believes that Japan's integrity is being corrupted by a group of leading industrialists who have usurped the Emperor's power. His inspiration is driven by the story of the League of the Divine Wind, a group of samurai in the late 1900s who opposed the reforms and changes in the society including what they believed to be a dilution of the samurai code, brought about by Japan's opening up to the West. Isao, the hero in this novel, believes that the only way to restore the Emperor to his rightful place and to purge the evil that has permeated society, is to follow the steps of the League -- eliminate the corrupt business leaders and the sacrificing of lives of pure instruments, young men as himself whose purity of purpose and single-minded devotion to the Emperor were without peer. Isao is characterized almost as divine in his utter simplicity of belief and determination to achieve perfection through seppuku. On the other hand, these, combined with his naiveté made for a dangerous and volatile mix. This is my first Mishima, and i find his writing superb, masterly. The tetralogy is composed of different stories about the several reincarnations of one person, each time with a focus on a different theme. Each book, though, is stand-alone. The presence of certain personalities and subtle layers of interrelationships between people and between events provide the link to the different phases/stories, and give context to the overall story and character development. How Mishima adeptly interweaves all these is simply first-rate. This novel immensely fascinated me because it mirrors Mishima's ideology and the events he instigated along the course of his adult life, highlighting in a coup attempt he led aimed at restoring the powers of the Emperor, which ended in his own long dreamed-of seppuku. It was, for him, the most fitting last act to a life devoted to mythifying himself.
poetontheone on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
With Mishima's second installment in his Sea of Fertility tetralogy, we see the protagonist of Spring Snow reincarnated in the character of Isao, whose passion embodies political ideology rather than romantic love. Isao's passion in a way seems even more vehement. It is so strong that it alienates him from humanity, and we realzie that his commitment to 'purity' must inevitably resolve itself in death. The tenor of Isao's character, especially when described by Honda, reaches that note of tragic beauty that permeates Spring Snow, but it does not do so effectively enough for the novel to reach the same overall grandeur as its predecessor. What is most remarkable about this work is how closely it mirrors Mishima's own actions a few years later, and the insight it may give into his own internal character. The deafening resonance of this books final pages is altogether equal to the tragic pallor of the first novel's end, and the end of the author's own mythos.
RicDay on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Second novel in Mishima's Sea of Fertility tetralogy.
mbmackay on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Combined review for Spring Snow, Runaway Horses, The Temple of Dawn and The decay of the Angel - which together make up the Sea of Fertility.Spring Snow succeeds for me only for its painting of a lost period in Japan - of the privileged and their privileges. In other ways it fails - the obsession with 'elegance' and 'good movements' and 'beauty' leaves me no wiser as the causes and principles involved.Runaway Horses moves forward 20 years, to a second incarnation of the principal of these stories. Again fails to to convince as the source and power of the obsessions (Japan-ness. ritual suicide etc). At the end, we know they exist, but not why. The Temple of Dawn is the weakest of the four books with turgid page after turgid page of Buddhist and other religious exposition. Is this a cheap cure for writer's block? The reincarnation this time is as Thai princess. Remarkably, the main character, Honda, becomes a hardcore voyeur halfway through this volume. The voyeuristic writing is good - it is almost as if Mishima wanted to get this writing out, and Honda was the available character!The Decay of the Angel is the shortest volume (running out of things to say?) and again fails to deliver. The latest incarnation is Angel-like(!). Spare me. The most remarkable aspect is Mishima's ritual suicide on the day he finished writing this last volume. If he was aiming for immortality, all he achieved was a quirky footnote to literary history.
chrisadami on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The second in Mishima's "Sea of Fertility" series. A bit weaker than the first book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anger flared in the young she-cat's eyes. "You think I want Velvetstar dead?" She unsheathed her claws.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The grey she-cat's ears perked at the clapping thunder but when a wave of heat hit. She knew something was wrong. Fawnstep bolted out of camp to see Stormbird racing the fire. Her eyes wide in dismay, "Stormbird!" She called, we have to get everyone out of camp. But something was wrong, "Where is Spiritnight?" She asked as he got closer. She could see the white's of his eyes peeking at her. "Where is she?" She demanded again, her claws unsheathed and digging into the earth below. When he still didn't respond, she felt dizzy. Get a hold of yourself. "Do you know where she is?" She repeated, bracing herself for his answer. Dear Starclan help us!~ Terrified Fawnstep
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ye im on eastern time)) he nodded and stretched his tired muscles
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The white cat watched the teaming river with quick amber orbs. She wadded into the river, just up to her chest, and snapped onto a large fish. She lifted her head out of the water proudly and waited for her catch to stop moving. Once it did so, she sat it on the edge of the river. With a contented sigh, her eyes closed a bit and she shook off droplets of water violently, spraying it everywhere. She did love the water, and hunting. So what was better than hunting in the water?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just make sure the wind is carrying your scent away from te prey so it doesnt smell you before you try to pounce on it so far?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
(Result 14)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mishima is the master at revealing the psychological underpinnings of his characters through very discreetly written yet fully comprehensive dialogue. The characters not only talk to themselves, but talk to the heavens in their yearning and plea to break free of the constraints of worldly bounds. His major topics of love, beauty and reflections on existence speak like two major intellectual minds while their words are the same that we would use speaking to our own friends. (Though our thoughts may not border on the same ideas, we all express the same things in our own ways.) Knowing Mishima's story and his life adds deeply to the understanding of his characters and stories. This novel, particularly the young man's choice at the end and the treatment of the main character and his relationship with that young man is truly remarkable. Overall, a book that I would recommend and read over and over and over.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The small skinney apprentice ran through deciding to be a loner the black cat scraped out a small nest out of leaves and dry moss under a hazle bush by the river and curls up shiveing against the cold~Hollypaw
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
(Im back so sorry fr being inactive)-daisyflame
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She stalks through the undergrowth, remembering when Velvetstar got caught in a flood here. 'In fact, I think Leafpaw and Cloudedpaw were born here,' she thinks. But the scent of robin pushes the thought aside and she looks up to see a robin feeding chicks in a nest. 'Okay, don't mess up,' she thinks as she claws her way up the tree. Once above the nest, she leaps down into it, instantly killing the chicks. She slashes at the mother and breaks its neck, and she picks all of them up in her jaws and tries climbing down the tree. On the ground, she thinks, 'Amazing. You didn't fall from the tree this time,' as she heads back toward camp.