death in midsummer

sounds like: alfred hitchcock presents: triggers in leash.

I purchased a marked up copy of Yukio Mishima's Death in Midsummer at a yard sale over the summer for the grand price of 25¢. I had been reading it at work and finished it a few weeks ago. I've been meaning to get my favorite passages up to share since then. This weekend, I've got another cold (the third one this season!) and Blake is sick too, so instead of going to the Stars and Skulls Crafty Craft Fair as planned, I'm watching episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents and finally posting these precious passages which moved me:

"The world around him was quite as it had always been. Nothing had happened, and if he tried he could believe that nothing had happened even to him. A childish annoyance came over him. In an unknown place, an incident with which he had had nothing to had cut him off from the world.
Among all these passengers none was so unfortunate as he. The though seemed to put him on a level above or a level below the ordinary Masaru, he did not know which. He was someone special. Someone apart.
No doubt a man with a large birthmark on his back sometimes feels the urge to call out: 'Listen, everyone. You don't know it, but I have a big, purple birthmark on my back.'
And Masaru wanted to shout at the other passengers: 'Listen, everybody. You don't know it, but I have just lost my sister and two of my three children.'" - Death in Midsummer

"Fortunately, he was in love with Kiyoko. To face the future hopefully, therefore, he had only to follow the conditions laid down by nature. Now and then some other woman made a motion in his direction, but he sensed something unnatural in pleasure for the sake of pleasure. It was better to listen to Kiyoko complaining about the dreadful price these days of vegetables and fish." - Three Million Yen

"In his dreams he lived nightly in the Pure Land, and when he awoke he knew that to subsist in the present world was to be tied to a sad and evanescent dream."

"The physical attributes of men no longer meant anything to her. Her only concern was to find a man who could give her the strongest and deepest possible love. A woman with such aspirations is a truly terrifying creature."

"That old priest by the lake had at a certain stage in his life given up the Floating World and all its pleasures. In the eyes of the Imperial Concubine he was far more of a man than all the nobles whom she knew at Court. And, just as he had once abandoned this present Floating World, so now on her behalf he was about to give up the future world as well." - The Priest and His Love

"After the suicide, people would take out this photograph and examine it, and sadly reflect that too often there was a curse on these seemingly flawless unions. Perhaps it was no more than imagination, but looking at the picture after the tragedy it almost seemed as if the two young people before the gold-lacquered screen were gazing, each with equal clarity, at the deaths which lay before them."

"Reiko took the squirrel [figurine] in her hand and looked at it. An then, her thoughts turning to a relm far beyond these child-like affections, she gazed up into the distance at the great sun-like principle which her husband embodied. She was ready and happy to be hurtled along to her destruction in that gleaming sun chariot- but now, for these few moments of solitude, she allowed herself to luxuriate in this innocent attachment to trifles. The time when she had genuinely loved these things, however, was long past. Now she merely loved the memory of having once loved them, and their place in her heart had been filled by more intense passions, by a more frenzied happiness."

"Reiko felt the roughness of the lieutenant's unshaven skin against her neck. This sensation, more than being just a thing of this world, was for Reiko almost lost the world itself, but now- with the feeling that it was soon to be lost forever- it had a freshness beyond all her experience. Each moment had its own vital strength, and the senses in every corner of her body were reawakened."

"On looking into each other's eyes and discovering there an honorable death, they had felt themselves safe once more behind steel walls which none could destroy, encased in an impenetrable armor of Beauty and Truth."

"Listening to these noises he had the feeling that this house rose like a solitary island in then ocean of a society going as restlessly about its business as ever. All around, vastly and untidily, stretched the country for which he grieved. He was to give his life for it. But would that great country, with which he was prepared to remonstrate to the extent of destroying himself, take the slightest heed of his death? He did not know; and it did not matter. His was a battlefield with out glory, a battlefield where none could display deeds of valor: it was the front line of the spirit." - Patriotism

"Newspapers, thought Toshiko, her mind going back once again to those happenings. Bloodstained newspapers. If a man were ever to hear of that piteous birth and know that it was he who had lain there, it would ruin his entire life. To think that I, a perfect stranger, should from now on have to keep such a secret- the secret of a man's whole existence..." - Swaddling Clothes

No comments: