Saturday 19 May 2007

11. The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With The Sea

Well, I finally finished The Good Fairies of New York and had to resist the urge to throw it under the wheels of the subway car I had just exited. That book was exceptionally bad in terms of writing and plotting. But then, to add insult to injury, the publisher decided not to bother hiring a copy editor: in the last 60 or so pages, I noticed at least 3 typos on almost every page! I wasn't even looking for errors, so there were probably a lot more than that. Nothing gets my goat more than sloppy editing; it suggests to me that the publishers thought the book was already a disaster and one more problem wouldn't matter. Grrr.

Luckily, my reading time is being redeemed by The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With The Sea by Yukio Mishima. Mishima is insane (ahem, was insane: he disemboweled himself in public in 1973!) and I can't identify with his characters most of the time. But the writing is so good, and the plots usually so compelling (if exceptionally disturbing too) that he's established himself as one of my favourite writers.

This one is about a group of apparently very proper, well off 13-year old boys who secretly meet to discuss the meaning of life (there is no meaning) and to harden their hearts by killing small animals and dissecting them. Meanwhile, one of the boys' mother has a new boyfriend, a sailor, who they idolize....but if I know Mishima, it's only a matter of time before the sailor will disappoint them in some way and then things will go horribly wrong. Can't wait to get back to it later today!

I first encountered Mishima when I was about 19; a friend gave me The Temple of the Golden Pavilion for my birthday that year.

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