The Frolic of the Beasts by Yukio Mishima

The Frolic of the Beasts

Translated into English for the first time, a gripping short novel about an affair gone wrong, from the author of the Sea of Fertility tetralogy.Set in rural Japan shortly after World War II, The Frolic of the Beasts tells the story of a strange and utterly absorbing love triangle between a former university student, Kōji; his would-be mentor, the eminent literary critic Ippei Kusakudo; and Ippei’s beautiful, enigmatic wife, Yūko. When brough...

Details The Frolic of the Beasts

TitleThe Frolic of the Beasts
Release DateNov 27th, 2018
GenreFiction, Cultural, Japan, Asian Literature, Japanese Literature, Asia, Literature, Classics, 20th Century, Novels

Reviews The Frolic of the Beasts

  • David
    Totally unrelated to my reading of this book: I must be in the Top 10 of Mishima fans in North London and, you know what?, I found out about this publication by myself. I feel that I give and I give all of myself to the internet on the understanding that they'll tell me about important stuff like this. Where was Amazon? Where was my Google alert? What's the point of all of the internet if it doesn't tell me about the publication of a new Mishima?...
  • Daniela
    Oh, Mishima what have you done? I can hardly believe there’s a Mishima book I don’t like. Maybe it was the meds I'm taking for my cold that clogged my judgment. Maybe. Let us hope so. But everything that made me appreciate and obsess over Mishima’s previous works – the beautiful descriptions, the harmony between scenery and character, the depths of the characters’ feelings – are so overdone here to the point where it just becomes a to...
  • Runwright
    With exaggerated characters and recurring poetry that echoes like a refrain, The Frolic of Beasts reads like an tragicomic opera, and who will emerge as hero or villain will be determined by whose story you find most sympathetic.Read my full review here: With exaggerated characters and recurring poetry that echoes like a refrain, The Frolic of Beasts reads like an tragicomic opera, and who will emerge as hero or villain...
  • SheAintGotNoShoes
    This is my first Mishima and I am walking away not really knowing what to think or how much I really liked this book. It was very strange and not very likely to be a common event. I haven't met anyone whose lover seriously hurts and causes permanent damage to her husband, and then they all move in together and carry on as if nothing much is amiss !I have to admit, I did not understand the ending and have been googling around to find out exactly w...
  • Ace Boggess
    As with all Mishima, this story is beautiful and unsettling, poetic and sad, subtle and bold. I can't believe I didn't know about this until its recent Vintage printing. A magnificent work of art.
  • Hadrian
    Compared to Mishima's other novels, this left surprisingly little impression on me - I could barely recall the events as they had happened after I had finished. That said, his prose style still survives in translation, and I remember so many phrases instead of the events of the text.The translator's endnote says that this was based on a traditional Noh play, so maybe I'm completely ignorant of the context.
  • Matthew Appleton
    15th book of 2020, and my 5th Mishima. As for writer's lives, Mishima has one of the most interesting, and tragic. This is a 'lesser' book. A young student falls in love with a woman who has a husband, something terrible is done (which I won't say) and the husband, Ippei, becomes an 'invalid'. He can't talk much, and rarely understands anything. He tends to look about himself with a stupid grin on his face. Mishima has always been good at capturi...
  • Graham Wilhauk
    BEAUTIFUL book. I am SO happy that we FINALLY got another Mishima novel translated into English. This is a BIG step in the right direction for Vintage Books and the publishing world in general. Ok, maybe it's not a GIGANTIC step, but it is a step that I found to be EXTREMELY worthwhile. If this novel does well in the states, than we may get the rest of his books translated in the near future. Also, in my opinion, this is a GREAT book. It isn't pe...
  • Laura
    I liked this book but I think a lot was lost in translation. There were some phrases he used over and over that I didn't get or that imagery didn't add anything to it. I do like the poems though out. It is a book you have to take your time with. I did like it and will probably try another one of his books.
  • Todd
    [NO SPOILERS -- I haven't proofread it, though, so please excuse its incoherent flow]Thematic and philosophical exploration is the focus as this brief narrative describes the relationship between three individuals whose lives are almost entirely defined by their love triangle. As with most theme-heavy, rhetorical works of fiction, the characters in The Frolic of the Beasts read more like archetypal placeholders in an allegory than they do represe...
  • Locky
    I don't know why this book was only translated into English for the first time nearly 50 years after the death of Mishima. 'The Frolic of the Beasts' is a modern Noh play thick with typical Mishima themes and an atypical non-linear sequence.The heavenly descriptions of the contents of the greenhouses, landscapes and character's physical attributes are a testament to Japanese literature and the translator's capabilities.
  • Mark
    Structurally, it would be easy to pithily summarize the plot of The Frolic of the Beasts by declaring it to be a classic love triangle, in this case, of one woman and two men. But this would be quite an injustice against this short, yet intensely psychological novel. The story of former student Koji, “a fun-loving, hot-headed youth,” Ippei, a renowned literary critic and author with Casanova tendencies, and Yuko, his conflicted wife, is fille...
  • Benjamin Harris
    Man, I was thrilled when I heard another Yukio Mishima book was being translated into English, as he is one of my favorite authors (if not my favorite.) I had sort of given up hope at having any more of his works translated, to the point that I was almost reluctant to finish the few remaining English works that I had not gone through; it felt like it would be the end of something. So, this book gives fresh hope that maybe more of his works will m...
  • Smiley
    3.50 starsI've found reading this novel translated by Andrew Clare (its original in Japanese first published in 1961) a bit disappointing and writing its review reluctant, maybe due to its lenghty time-lapse interval between the mentioned year and the translated one, that is, 2018-1961= 57 years during which I enjoyed more or less reading his 14 titles with stories included in some. When I came across this paperback in early December last year, i...
  • Ken
    When a young Japanese student falls into the orbit of a beautiful woman and her husband, he is driven to an act of violence that unites the three in a corrupt love triangle fueled by desire and repentance. And that one impulsive act relentlessly leads to more brutality in the poetically written novel The Frolic of the Beasts.This novel by Yukio Mashima was first published in Japan in 1961 and has now received its first English translation. Mishim...
  • Kara Jay
    I received this book through a goodreads giveaway for my honest opinion. I really really enjoyed this book. I didn't want to stop reading it, but work always gets in the way.This book is beautiful. The story is great and engaging. I had a hard time relating to the characters, but the writing drew me in.There were multiple times when I just gasped and said wow at the beauty of this writing.This was my first Yukio Mishima and I will definitely be r...
  • Paltia
    Exquisitely written sad, sad story of controlling love gone so wrong. The writing is so evocative and delicate it has a way of camouflaging the hidden horror. It does emerge, gently and viciously.
  • Tracy
    I was amazed to see a "new" Mishima and was drawn into his intricately woven prose right away. Very glad for the epilogue and how interesting Mishima's connection to the story .
  • Deacon Tom Frankenfield
    Wonderful Expressions of Feeling This lovely book really drew me into its storyline. It was my first experience of Japanese literature and I had to fight my western worldview. The strengths are the detail descriptions of the scenes and the expressions of feelings.
  • Pascale
    Enjoyable but inconclusive. The story revolves around 3 main characters, Ippei, his wife Yuko, and Koji, a young man Ippei initially recruits as a temp in his ceramics shop. Before succeeding his parents in the shop, Ippei went to college and had a minor career as a critic of German literature. However, once established in business, he turned into a wily salesman, as well as a skirt-chaser. To Koji, Ippei claims that he is unfaithful only in the ...
  • Michael
    Translation by Andrew Clare of 1961 novel:獣の戯れ (kemono no tawamure)To be honest, even this short novel (176 pp) was a bit of a slog to get through. Marred by repetitious descriptions. Read in a hot Japanese summer, there were simply too many pages of sun, heat, and lush vegetation. The psychological drama failed to grasp me—many better works on my reading list. Minor, mid-career Mishima potboiler? Or have I just gone off him entirely? R...
  • Heather
    Many thanks to NetGalley for sending me an advanced reader's copy of The Frolic of Beasts in exchange for an honest review.The Folic of Beasts was initially written by Yukio Mishima in the 1960s and this is the first edition to be translated into English.I'm a big fan of Japanese fiction, specially authors Haruki Murakami and Kazuo Ishiguro, so when I first cracked open this book, I expected something of that sort. And that is exactly what I got!...
  • Bryan
    The language in this book is beautiful, dense, multilayered, and truly creative. However, that's its only saving grace. The triangle of characters, and the relationships between them, feels contrived and unnatural. Long sections, especially towards the end, come across as tedious, verbose, and unnecessary. It's a short book, but it took me forever to finish. According to the translator, this was meant to be a parody of a certain Noh play, but I f...
  • Casey
    It's not one of his best, but it drew me in all the same. Getting to read anything "new" from Mishima is something special.
  • Jon
    A beautiful and unsettling story about a love triangle. The ending is inevitable (but no less tragic).
  • Kate Downton
    3.6 stars
  • Ben Dougherty
    2.5First of all, there was a miserable, despairing woman. Then, there was a self-indulgent, heartless husband. And last, a hot-blooded, sympathetic young man. And with that the scenario was complete. At long last, at the very end of the book, The Frolic of the Beasts falls into place with the 1-page translator’s note. The novel is a parody of Noh theatre, of which Yukio Mishima was an enthusiast. It’s a classic tale of a woman caught between ...
  • Marion Julia
    I don't know how to express my feelings about this book yet. But I hope that what I'm going to say next makes sense.I found out that this story was inspired by a play? a specific type of play that the author would even write for.And, I can totally see the play-like inspired writing because this did not feel like a novel at all. I was left feeling like I was lacking either information, or attention. I wanted to know more, even thought I somehow un...
  • Harrison Phinney
    Definitely a low-priority in the Mishima oeuvre. I think a staged version would be more interesting, especially given this is a re-imagining of a Noh play.