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

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 theres a Mishima book I dont 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 Mishimas 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 torrent of endless v...
  • 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...
  • 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:
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 filled with...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • Killer of Dreams
    "The Frolic of the Beasts" is a strange styled book for something written by Mishima. There is a prologue and epilogue, something I have yet to see while reading a work of his. Although the ending is explained in the prologue, the buildup is a waste and the explanation of the ending seems muddy. Yūko is described as changing from a "desultory and insincere woman" to a "vibrant woman brimming with immeasurable energy ", something that would help ...
  • 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...
  • 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 memany better works on my reading list. Minor, mid-career Mishima potboiler? Or have I just gone off him entirely? Read...
  • 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...
  • 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 .
  • Jon
    A beautiful and unsettling story about a love triangle. The ending is inevitable (but no less tragic).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Shivani Maurya
    It's a wonder that I haven't gotten around to reviewing a Mishima. My failing to review him might as well be the measure of his quality. To me his writing vibrates with rawness. It doesn't hide a thing. The nature is laid bare, the humans are laid bare. And the ease with which Mishima lets the reader slide under the skin of his characters is incredible. I am often taken aback as I feel the emotions of his characters coursing through me. It's quit...
  • Matt
    This short novel, translated into English for the first time in just the past few years, is the bizarre, tragic story of a trinity of characters: a married couple who vacillates between admiration of and cruelty towards one another; and another man who becomes involved in their lives, who impacts them through an act of violence, and who is then welcomed back into their circle for a surprising final act. A compelling and interesting story built up...
  • Jenny Balsamo
    A CONFESSION: I haven't read much Japanese Literature, and I think the last time I read it was the required readings we had when I was still in University. One thing I remember about it is it heavily reflects their culture and tradition. The Frolic of the Beasts reminds me of what I miss and love in reading Japanese Literature.At first glance, the plot seems to be about a classic love triangle. However, The Frolic of the Beasts explores a deeper ...
  • Elizabeth
    This being my first Yukio Mishima book, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I've stumbled upon a gem. I'll start with the writing which I found so vivid and beautiful. It captivated the setting of the story and the characters so well that I still find myself rereading passages. The characters were not particularly likeable by any means. Initially, I felt they reaped what they sowed, but as I continued on I felt nothing but sadness and pity ...