Read After the Banquet by Yukio Mishima Online


For years Kazu has run her fashionable restaurant with a combination of charm and shrewdness. But when the she falls in love with one of her clients, an aristocratic retired politician, she renounces her business in order to become his wife. But it is not so easy to renounce her independent spirit, and eventually Kazu must choose between her marriage and the demands of herFor years Kazu has run her fashionable restaurant with a combination of charm and shrewdness. But when the she falls in love with one of her clients, an aristocratic retired politician, she renounces her business in order to become his wife. But it is not so easy to renounce her independent spirit, and eventually Kazu must choose between her marriage and the demands of her irrepressible vitality. After the Banquet is a magnificent portrait of political and domestic warfare....

Title : After the Banquet
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780099282785
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 288 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

After the Banquet Reviews

  • Nandakishore Varma
    2019-05-17 17:41

    Politics meant pretending to step out to the men's room and then completely disappearing, forcing a man's back to the wall while cheerfully sharing the same fire, making a show of laughter when one is angry or flying into a rage when one is not in the least upset, sitting for a long time without saying a word, quietly flicking specks of dust off one's sleeve... in short, acting very much like a geisha.This is the world Kazu, the redoubtable middle-aged female protagonist of this novel by Yukio Mishima, enters when she falls hopelessly in love with Yuken Noguchi, idealist politician of the Radical Party. The problem is, Noguchi cannot see practical politics for what it is: a form of ideological prostitution. Kazu who has come up in the world the hard way bears no illusions - Noguchi, for all his bookish wisdom, has a lot of them.Kazu is the proprietor of a Setsugoan, an After-Snow-Retreat, where she is in the habit of entertaining the high-and-the-mighty of Japan. One day after a banquet, Tamaki, former ambassador to Germany, collapses in the toilet. The subsequent hullabaloo manages to throw Noguchi and Kazu together, and this gentleman of sixty and woman of fifty find themselves falling head-over-heels in love like teenagers.They become man and wife, and soon afterwards, Noguchi is chosen to run for office by the Radical Party. What is essentially an ideological fight for him, however, is just a fight for victory for his wife. Her methods which are not wholly fair and aboveboard invite Noguchi's wrath and their relationship soon begins to crack. And soon, Caesar's wife is attacked: then events proceed at a pace which nobody can control.-------------------------The novel is a masterful study of essential human nature in the dirtiest arena available in the modern world - democratic politics. Kazu, though she is ruthless in her efforts to get Noguchi to win, is essentially honest about herself: there is no self-deception. Her love is unconditional. Noguchi, on the other hand, is cold and callous about Kazu even though he is the epitome of political honesty and idealism. And society stands exposed as the most morally corrupt there is, where it cannot see the essential honesty of Kazu and must judge her by bogus moral standards.Mishima seamlessly interweaves the physical background into the psychological landscape of his characters: thus Kazu's well-kept garden in the Setsugoan becomes her symbol, metamorphosing and changing shape in tune with the development of her character. In contrast, Noguchi's home is cheerless and stifling, permeated by the spirit of the ponderous tomes of serious literature in foreign languages that Kazu cannot understand. Similarly, Kazu's wardrobe is elaborate and lovingly described (especially the patterns on her kimono) whereas Noguchi wears shabby western attire most of the time.(I am once again captivated by the pictorial use of language by Japanese authors. This is also evident in the use of camera frames resembling paintings in Japanese movies - Ran by Kurasowa, for example.)The most engaging character is Yamazaki, Noguchi's Man Friday and genuine friend of Kazu (perhaps the only person who accepts her as she is). He can see politics for what it actually is.Corruption in an election or the victory of moneyed power did not in the least surprise him; they seemed as natural as stones and horse dung along a road.Rem acu tetigisti, as Jeeves would say.At the end of the novel, we meet a chastened Kazu after the lavish banquet of an electoral battle, ready for life's banquet. One can only wish her luck.

  • Emilio Berra
    2019-05-10 21:42

    Giappone fra Oriente e OccidenteAlla pubblicazione di quest'opera, un uomo politico giapponese, riconosciutosi in un personaggio del libro, avviò causa legale nei confronti dello scrittore. Ci fu il processo ; Mishima, ritenuto colpevole, dovette risarcire.A noi rimane però il bellissimo romanzo ambientato nel dopoguerra nipponico quando ormai la lotta politica (democratica) ricalcava quella occidentale, con tutte le bassezze a cui siamo abituati : propaganda convulsa ...fino alla 'macchina del fango'.Proprio in tale contesto si trova ad agire la cinquantenne Kazu, donna che, nelle prime pagine, viene rappresentata in una dimensione 'orientale' : la vediamo, totalmente appagata, passeggiare nello splendido parco del suo 'Rifugio dopo la nevicata' , ristorante di lusso, luogo spesso di ritrovo d'atmosfera discreta e accogliente per anziani uomini politici Conservatori.Pensa che la propria vita non abbia più svolte, ma in questo spesso ci sbagliamo. Un giorno infatti, tra i frequentatori del locale, conosce il sessantenne Progressista Noguchi, che pare avere ancora qualche velleità politica.Fra i due nasce un'intesa che poi si evolverà. Ma 'di che cosa parliamo quando parliamo d'amore'?Kazu si getta nella scelta affettiva, però le motivazioni di fondo sono complesse : lei, che ha un passato non limpido, è attratta perfino (soprattutto!?) dalla tomba di famiglia di Noguchi, ammantata del valore simbolico della rispettabilità ...definitiva.Questa donna passionale si coinvolge ingenuamente nella lotta politica a favore dell'uomo amato. Con quali ripercussioni?Il romanzo non termina certo con questo interrogativo. Ciò che però voglio evidenziare è la bellezza dell'opera, che va al di là della trama, che risulta comunque costruita in una struttura solidissima. Gli elementi forti sono però lo splendore estetico della scrittura e il raffinato approfondimento psicologico : non un dettaglio è fine a se stesso ; ogni gesto, ogni elemento della natura rientrano in un ordine in cui 'tutto torna'.Kazu non è assolutamente una Madame Bovary : in lei non prevale l'aspetto egocentrico-nevrotico-distruttivo ; lei anela alla vita nella dimensione più profonda e autentica.

  • umberto
    2019-05-23 18:43

    If one would like to read "After the Banquet" by Yukio Mishima for romantic or sensational scenes, this novel might be disappointing since he has portrayed a formidable lady named Kazu, the proprietress of the Setsugoan, in her years of age "over fifty" (p. 7) whose fate leads her to meet a retired elderly, "over sixty" (p. 76), politician and ambassador named Noguchi. Their first meeting is at her distinguished restaurant in Tokyo when there is an annual meeting of the Kagen Club where Noguchi duly attends. Eventually, she has become gradually interested in him as we can see from these excerpts:Noguchi, who had scarcely uttered a word, finally spoke. "Why don't we drop all this talk about the old days? We're still young, after all."Noguchi spoke with a smile, but the surging strength in his tone made the others fall silent.Kazu was captivated by this one remark. ... She thought, "This gentleman can say beautifully things which are really difficult to say." (p. 19)It was strange that amidst all this excitement Noguchi's words -- "I'm the only one with nothing to tie me down" -- should have lingered so vividly in Kazu's mind. Yes, those definitely had been Noguchi's words, and their meaning like the vibrations of a silver wire, sent a glow of light into Kazu's heart. (p. 24)Rather we would read how these two senior celebs have fallen in love; indeed, Kazu "is determined never to fall in love again" (back cover). However, Noguchi and Kazu have their own amorous reasons and thus end up getting married in spite of disagreement from a famous politician named Nagayama. (pp. 87-91)

  • Speranza
    2019-05-23 18:43

    Well-written boredom.

  • Meltem SAGLAM
    2019-04-24 15:51

    Asla gözardı edilmemesi gereken, bir kadının gücü ve kararlılığı üzerine...

  • Lobstergirl
    2019-05-19 16:47

    Mishima uses many evocative and beautiful similes and metaphors. The phrases from Kazu's lips - "reform of the prefectural administration," "positive policies to combat unemployment," and the like - plummeted to the ground like swarms of winged ants which have lost the strength of their wings, but the words visible on the lips of the crowd dripped like red meat in the sunshine. Old people out for a walk and leaning on their sticks, smugly respectable housewives, little girls in bare-shouldered bathing suits, delivery boys - all were gnawing on bits of Kazu's flesh, and looked at her with heavy, sated eyes.But it's exhausting and dispiriting to read about a culture in which women are so infantilized. And it's not even really just the women. There's something about the lack of direct communication - every emotion and thought is veiled, everyone wears a mask, there's a mask you wear for your husband, a mask you wear when you run into a woman you despise but must be polite to - that infantilizes the entire Japanese culture. I don't know enough about Japan to be making sweeping statements like this, but this is my sense based on this novel.I was glad to see Kazu (view spoiler)[ grow some balls (hide spoiler)] at the end of the novel and (view spoiler)[ leave her husband and return to her restaurant business, which she knew was the only way she could be happy (hide spoiler)].

  • David
    2019-05-15 16:34

    It's Mishima's book about old people! And he's much kinder than I would have thought. All the men are fairly craggy (there's not a hint of the blueness of shaved collar lines), but they and their world are treated with sensitivity and interest. He pokes fun at their self-importance, rituals and politics but doesn't stoop to being too rude about the way they masticate ("Thirst for Love") or their bodies (poor old Honda and his shrivelled white bean in "Decay of the Angel").In fact, Kazu feels repugnance for young men. She's a spicy, young fiftysomething with an interesting sexual history, a good body and a fabulous restaurant. Noguchi is the only one of his "retired ambassador" set who is not resigned to living in the past, and this arouses Kazu's interest. They fall into something, which is then consummated on their holiday in Nara. An unhappy electoral campaign exhausts their short marriage, and Kazu works hard and even more indignity to get back to where she was at the start."True finesse requires a silken touch, but Saeki's at best was rayon.""The corrupt jewels that had studded the pamphlet seemed to glitter now in the crowd's gossip."

  • Sarah Magdalene
    2019-05-19 14:40

    After The Banquet....hahaha! I was reading this one just after the election which was appropriate seeing as it all about politics, and about marriage. Mishima is good at describing the hell that is marriage. He knows exactly how it all works. He understands women extremely well and his women characters are always surprising, usually very powerful and always palpably real. The heroine of this tale Kazu is a formidable self made woman and a great natural politician."Some curious blessing of heaven had joined in one body a mans resolution with a womans reckless enthusiasm."She falls in love with a dry old aristocratic politician, but ends up unintentionally eclipsing him. It's all about class and temperament and vitality. She is too much woman for him basically.

  • Zen Cho
    2019-05-21 19:31

    Interestingly observed clash of personalities in a marriage. Reading this was sometimes helped by imagining the stern, dignified husband possessed of noble ideals as Kuchiki Byakuya, but sometimes not .... The problem with this was mainly that thing you get when you are reading a book from outside your culture, where you don't know what the narrative conventions are or what's supposed to happen next or what characters' reactions mean. There is a sometimes pleasing, sometimes alienating incomprehensibility to everything.Anyway I liked this more than The Temple of the Golden Pavilion, which I couldn't manage to finish because the main character was such an asshole.

  • Andrew
    2019-05-23 22:37

    During a week of ugly and uncertain politics, my masochistic self decided to read a novel about Japan's ugly and uncertain politics, as told by genius writer/noted political crank Yukio Mishima. A bourgeois lady gets caught up in the intrigues, and discovers how banal they really are. Do the scenes of devoted prayer for an electoral victory remind you of anything? The sheer dullness and ritual of party meetings? Kazu, Noguchi, and company just remind me a slightly more kimono'd version of the mediocre fucks I witnessed talking about lib'rals and 'servatives as a teenager visiting the Iowa House of Representatives.

  • Yume
    2019-05-23 15:34

    Al ser un libro de Mishima (escritor al que adoro y venero), la verdad es que ya tenía una buena predisposición antes de empezarlo. En cuanto al estilo, como siempre me ocurre con este autor, me ha encantado. Sin embargo, tampoco creo que sea su mejor obra ni de lejos en este sentido, no expresa tanta belleza y pasión como otras que he leído por su parte pero no está mal.En cuanto al contenido, me parece que la parte central decae bastante y, aunque necesaria, sí que es cierto que se me hizo algo pesada y aburrida en ciertos puntos. De todos modos, en general la historia me ha gustado, y ante todo creo que tiene un buen final. Sinceramente, teniendo en cuenta la época y el país donde está escrito no me esperaba que fuese a suceder eso (no diré más para no hacer spoilers). No es la obra del siglo, pero está bastante entretenida.

  • Sincerae
    2019-05-01 15:32

    I read Yukio Mishima's achingly romantic The Sound of Waves years ago. This is the second novel of his I've read. After the Banquet is sort of the antithesis of The Sound of Waves. The main characters are a middle aged restaurant owner and an elderly retired aristocratic politician. Kazu is a rather unconventional female for a traditional society like Japan. She is a lively, energetic, pretty and plump middle aged woman. She never married and is the rather affluent owner of a restaurant which caters to mainly retired politicians and journalists. Noguchi, who is in his sixties is a rather impoverished aristocrat and former politician. He is one of her regular clients who comes to her establishment accompanied by some of his elderly friends. Out of the group he is the most reserved, an ageing cold fish intellectual, but Kazu falls in love with him. This novel is the story of their marriage and the politics surrounding it. I rather enjoyed this novel because it's not often that I read novels where the protagonists are no longer young. This is not a conventional love story.

  • Gertrude & Victoria
    2019-05-18 15:43

    After the Banquet is in one sense, a damning statement of the political - the political apparatus, and the political nature innate in human beings. It is also a broader social indictment of the period in which Mishima lived. This story is partially based on factual events which occurred in his time. Noguchi, a former government official, keen on spending the remainder of his days quietly, meets an independent and ambitious woman. They marry and she persuades him to run for a high level post in the government against his better judgement. This is an intriguing story of one woman's implacable self-serving motivations that nearly leads another to ruin. The details, that are carefully and thoughtfully rendered, makes this a bona fide goodread.

  • Descending Angel
    2019-05-06 21:26

    I hate to do this because it's Mishima and it's so beautifully written, but 3 stars. It's the weakest Mishima book I've read, but at least it isn't terrible. It's not that there's anything missing ~ it's got that beautiful poetic prose and it's always interesting to read into the ideas presented in Mishima's work because a lot of it reflects his life e.g. death and politics. It just doesn't soar to the heights of his best work.

  • Tony
    2019-05-01 20:43

    AFTER THE BANQUET. (1963). Yukio Mishima. ****1/2.Mishima has written an excellent novel that sums up the differences between two approaches to life in modern day Japan. The two central characters are Kazu, the owner and director of a nightclub and conference center, the Setsugoan Restaurant, and Mr. Noguchi, an aristocrat and intellectual, and once a cabinet minister. In terms of their personalities, they are diametrically opposite: Kazu is a woman blazing with life, who acts instinctively based on the ‘vibes’ she gets from her encounters, while Noguchi is old school Japanese, and never does anything without first thinking about it twice and about how his peers will view his actions. The two meet and, in spite of everything being against it, fall in love – although the description of love in both cases is very different. Kazu tends to throw herself into the whole affair while Noguchi enters slowly and methodically. The story is ultimately about the clash of these two personalities after the couple gets married. The reader is carried along with these two personalities as Noguchi enters a race to enter politics and Kazu does her best to help him win, while understanding the forces ranged against him. I thought I had read this novel years ago, but was obviously mistaken. I do plan, however, to round up as many of Mishima’s works as possible and re-read them over the next several months. Many readers will remember the ritual suicide committed by Mishima back in 1970, but will only understand his motivations after reading through his works.

  • Guillermo Galvan
    2019-05-02 20:38

    Just about everything Mishima writes will grip you. He is able to write masterfully about politics, death, sex, metaphysics, etc. He can do it all except comedy (although some aspects are funny in dark ways). This time its marriage.It's a solid novel about two opposite getting hitched. One is a super old school politician with a stick up his ass; the other is self-made, free spirited women. Obviously, they're fucked from the get go, and the novel revolves around this disintegration against the background of a campaign.I don't care much for Japanese politics but was drawn by the fascinating characters and psychological introspection. The book is written in the second-person through the wife, Kazu. It's amazing how well Mishima portrayed the inner working of her mind. She's the kind of person who can't help playing with fire in a matchstick house.Compared to his works, Mishima does go a lot easier on politicians and corruption. I kept waiting for something hardcore to happen but it just wasn't there. Also there's a little too much "tell" versus "show." The heavy narrative focus defused the immediacy of the story. Although, his scenery descriptions are a work of art. In this regard, Mishima rivals descriptive masters such as Tolkien and Frank Herbert.After the Banquet is pretty good, but watered down when held next to his books. When I finish a Mishima novel, I expect be emotionally scared for the rest of the month.

  • Lisabet Sarai
    2019-05-22 22:32

    Having been deeply impressed by Mishima’s astonishing book The Temple of the Golden Pavilion, I was looking forward to this novel, about an independent businesswoman who loses herself by falling in love. However, the book felt stiff and artificial to me, though the prose is artful and the imagery compelling. Perhaps this is a problem with the translation; one never knows, when reading a book originally composed in another language, whether a translation has faithfully captured the author’s intent. Another possible problem is my lack of knowledge about social structures in post-war Japan, which play an important role in the plot.Kazu is a fascinating and complicated character, but I never really felt I understood her. I watched her from a distance, as she made mistake after mistake in her pursuit of love and respectability. Indeed, it may be that respectability is the stronger motivation for her-we only discover gradually that she had a very humble background and a rather sordid youth. Somehow I felt her accomplishments in creating her wonderful restaurant should have been enough to convince her of her own worth. I found her behavior surprisingly lacking in self-awareness.I didn't hate this book, but I have to say I was disappointed.

  • Jude
    2019-04-25 14:25

    It is the third book by Mishima I have read so far and I still enjoy his writing very much.I enjoyed the first part of the book a lot. Reading about this very independant woman, Kazu and how she opens her heart to Mr. Nogucho was beautiful. However, when politics came into play, I wasn't as enthusiastic. Politics here are only an excuse to talk about marriage, about life and death. Becaus yes, Kazu is obsessed with death. Where will she rest when she dies? Why are these all people always speaking about the past? Where did their energy went? But as Kazu and Mr. Noguchi try to share some time together, it is obvious that they have a too different kind of life. While Noguchi would like to enjoy a settled kind of life, Kazu is all about being very active, meeting people, doing things all the time. Maybe I am too young for now to enjoy this tale of life and death and would appreciate it much better when I am the age of Kazu. For now, it was a pleasure to read, thanks to Mishima's beautiful writing but the topic was not my favorite.

  • Kumi
    2019-04-25 14:52

    My image about the author as a young student was an extremist and Rightist who committed suicide in public, and I was never interested in his books before. Having read my first book by him, however, I must admit that my image of him was built all based on misunderstanding and prejudice. "After the Banquet" is the most beautifully written story I have ever read in Japanese to date. His language and expressions blew my mind. It's vivid but not aggressive, subtle but strong. And it is filled with his aesthetic consciousness but also struggles and dilemmas he was facing in his life. I hope the English version of the book faithfully translates the beauty of Mishima's language and ideology.

  • Philippa Mary
    2019-05-20 14:37

    3.5 - this was my first book by Mishima. I enjoyed it - I enjoyed the descriptions of the characters and think the book contains an interesting look into human nature. I enjoyed the look into politics and ambition. It was also interesting to see this deceptively complex woman forge her way through a sexist society (this was written in the 60s). Although the characters are interesting, I didn't particularly like any of them and I didn't feel particularly captivated by the story. It was good but not amazing for me. I would be interested to try out more by the author though.

  • Lia
    2019-05-14 19:46

    Kazu è tale e non può evitare di esserlo; “c'è da chiedersi”, però, “se non si sbagliasse nell’insistere ad accendere il fuoco intorno alla pacifica esistenza del marito”. Già nella personalità della protagonista di Yukio Mishima la nota più originale è data da una coscienza desiderosa e bisognosa di veri e propri entusiasmi: come se attraverso il desiderio e il bisogno di nuove prove, opposti desideri di compagnia trovassero una certa possibilità di soluzione. - See more at:

  • Tosh
    2019-05-14 19:31

    A Yukio Mishima classic about the backroom deals in Business and culture that is also a great and classic look how Japanese culture does what it does. But filtered via the eyes of Mishima.

  • Saskia
    2019-05-05 15:35

    Endlich mal ein japanisches Buch, was nicht so schlecht und seicht ist, wie die anderen.....

  • Vitani Days
    2019-05-22 15:31

    Un romanzo che inizia dove altri avrebbero terminato, non il migliore di Mishima (l'ho preferito altrove) ma certamente notevole.Nel riassunto si fa un paragone con "Madame Bovary", ma a parere mio il solo elemento che hanno in comune è che trattano della sconfitta di una donna, della morte dei suoi sogni e delle sue aspirazioni. La Kazu di Mishima è profondamente diversa dalle Emma di Flaubert, e i risultati cui giungono sono pressoché opposti.Kazu è una cinquantenne di umili origini, che ha un passato che viene tenuto accuratamente segreto. Dai suoi comportamenti e dagli indizi seminati qua e là, si arguisce tuttavia che sia stata una prostituta d'alto bordo. E' una donna che, negli anni del dopoguerra giapponese, è riuscita ad affermarsi grazie al ristorante che gestisce, il Setsugoan. Ancora piacente, incredibilmente vitale, Kazu sembra non temere nulla. Ciò che la scuote, tuttavia, è il senso di vuoto. Conosce dunque il signor Noguchi, politico ormai prossimo al ritiro, che le offre la prospettiva di entrare a far parte di una famiglia rispettata e rispettabile anche dopo la morte. Lei vuole una tomba, qualcosa che assicuri al mondo che anche lei è esistita, e una tomba che sia quella di una buona famiglia: per rivalsa sul suo passato di miseria, sulla società, per quello che ha dovuto subire. E' una "self-made woman", un personaggio di grandissima forza e testardaggine, che cerca in qualche modo di adattarsi ai ritmi di vita di suo marito senza riuscirci mai del tutto. Il loro è un matrimonio partito col piede sbagliato, fra due personalità testarde in modo antitetico. Inizialmente, si profila come una tranquilla finzione di felicità. Con le elezioni, l'immischiarsi della politica e tutto quel che ne consegue, le certezze di Kazu vengono pian piano smantellate. Scopre le lordure del mondo, lei che è sempre stata quasi fanciullesca nelle sue manifestazioni di sentimento, e cerca come può di farvi fronte. Fino ad adeguarvisi, sporcando la sua purezza e macchiandosi di tradimento agli occhi del marito. Un marito che, pur non tollerandola più, è come vivificato da lei. Ed è notevolissima la frase in cui Kazu è felice di essere odiata: finalmente, Noguchi prova per lei un vero sentimento. Il finale s'avvia ad essere il più amaro possibile, si susseguono pagine di nostalgica malinconia da stringere il cuore: appunto, l'amarezza dell'esistenza riverbera fra le pagine e muta l'animo di Kazu in modo definitivo. E tuttavia, Mishima sorprende aggiungendo un epilogo che è tutto tranne che pieno di tristezza: prendendo atto del cambiamento avvenuto in lei, Kazu prende una decisione piena di dignità e inizia a ricostruire le ceneri della sua vita. Sa bene che ciò che passa nel suo ristorante, i clienti, le risate, sono soltanto surrogati della vita, emozioni forse fittizie: e tuttavia comprende che quella è la SUA esistenza, e che vale ben di più di una tomba. Non si può riavere ciò che è stato rotto così com'era un tempo, ma la differenza di percezione può essere lo stimolo per imparare a viverlo di nuovo, come la prima volta. Questo è ciò che prova Kazu nei confronti del giardino del Setsugoan. Nonostante la consapevolezza della falsità dell'esistenza, è comunque un principio di ricostruzione quello che pervade il finale del romanzo.Il tratteggio psicologico dei personaggi è, come sempre nel caso di Mishima, eccezionale. Del personaggio di Kazu, in particolare, al di là delle sue peculiarità fisiche e della sua strabordante emotività, colpisce la grandiosa maturazione finale. Un romanzo equilibratissimo, in cui Mishima mostra un'altra delle sue sfaccettature: quella politica. Sceglie però di fare dei suoi personaggi degli esponenti del partito radicale, e denuncia della politica gli aspetti più "bui" di corruzione e ipocrisia. Dice a chiare parole che le elezioni si vincono coi soldi, non col cuore. Eppure, per bocca di Yamazaki, dice che è proprio questo aspetto "impuro" della politica ad affascinarlo, e che è per questo che la ama.Come ho detto all'inizio, tuttavia, reputo questo romanzo non il migliore di Mishima: ho trovato la sua scrittura, infatti, più analitica e fredda del solito, al punto da risultare asettica. Tende a mancare il coinvolgimento psicologico ed emotivo, e tuttavia rimangono ineguagliabili l'equilibrio compositivo del romanzo e l'asciutta eleganza della frase.

  • Daniela
    2019-05-04 14:44

    4.5* Now this is a character driven novel in all its glory. I have always thought that such novels are the hardest to write. They can easily become an over-emotional, repetitive cliché. Character driven novels aren't meant to be a description of feelings at every given moment. They are meant to be exactly what Yukio Mishima wrote in After the Banquet.Kazu is the owner of a high class restaurant in Tokyo. Nowadays, we would probably call her a self-made woman. Kazu's struggle to rise from poverty is never directly described but it is hinted at quite often. When we find Kazu she's already a middle aged woman, rich and independent with little more to expect from life as she has achieved all that is possible for her to achieve. Or has she? Kazu falls in love and eventually marries Noguchi, a respected member of the Radical Party. The problem is that Noguchi, a thoroughly unpleasant man, is never conquered by those qualities that everybody else seems to love in Kazu: her tireless energy and enthusiasm for life. Their incompatibility is made obvious when Noguchi decides to run for political office. Kazu, unbeknownst to her husband, starts to campaign on his behalf, obviously doing a far better job than Noguchi ever would. When her husband finds out, he is furious. Noguchi is an interesting object of study because under all his lofty ideals and political integrity , he is a rather selfish and self-centered man. The feelings and actions of the woman he married are completely foreign to him. Not only he doesn't understand his wife, but he also doesn't understand people - common people. Unlike Kazu who clearly has the "common touch" as Kipling would put it. To cut a more complex story short: Noguchi looses the elections. In the meanwhile, Kazu had decided to mortgage her restaurant in order to help the campaign. Her husband and her debts force her to sell it. Kazu realises at the end that she doesn't want to sell it. She ends up divorcing her husband because of her decision to keep the restaurant. The restaurant, Setsugoan, begins as the symbol of Kazu's unchanging and easygoing life. Kazu reigned supreme there, unchallenged and loved by her maids (who insist on returning when it reopens at the end) and by her clients. When Kazu marries the restaurant looses its interest because there were other more compelling challenges for her to face. When those challenges disappoint her - both politics and her husband's character - she realises that she had what she wanted all along. Setsugoan becomes a Return to the old but at the same time, the beginning of something new, something far better than it initially was. At the end, there is a sense of belonging that wasn't there in the beginning. What is this story about, then? Can someone's nature change? Can we change? Does Kazu change?Kazu's nature never changes. She divorces Noguchi because she realises that we cannot go against what we are. And Kazu was a woman with a constant need for enthusiasm, for solving problems, for people. The life of a retired politician's wife, living in the suburbs of a huge city, could never suit her. But still, Kazu changes. She gains a self-awareness she didn't have before. She faces up to her fear - which was her main motivation to stay with her husband - of being forgotten and dying alone. She realises that it is better to die alone than to live alone. Some reviewers have focused a lot on the question of politics, on the corruptibility of men, on the nature of democracy. But I couldn't help but feel that this was but a peripheral question, a way for Kazu to understand herself and her surroundings. And to become reconciled with what she was.

  • Ursula Florene
    2019-05-04 20:32

    Politic is not a benign nor happy world for those filled with kindness. At least, after her marriage to one retired politician, Kazu learnt this lesson.She is a simple woman, filled with happiness, love, and kindness. Her single days are spent in Setsugoan, a restaurant with Conservative Party backing, and is very popular between distinguished politicians. She has lots of money, friends, and loyal underlings. But Kazu always has fear about what would happen after her death. She is haunted by an image of lonely, unvisited grave under her name.This fear of loneliness drives her to marry Yuken Noguchi, a senior-semi-retired politician from Radical Party. It si clear for the readers that these two are incompatible -Kazu with her warmth and appreciation towards life; and the uptight Noguchi who seems to be born in this world with a manual book that he must not stray from. Not only that, Kazu’s close relationship with Conservative Party members -which, naturally, Radical Party oppositions -will bring more problem into their married life. Especially after Noguchi decided to once again enter the battlefield as Tokyo’s governor candidate.Naturally Kazu helps his husband campaigning, supporting him financially and handling minor staff such as pamphlets, calendars, even singin and dancing —which Noguchi will later condemn. Her good nature and people positive responses make Noguchi’s victory seems definite. Unfortunately, politic is dirty, where money and sear campaigns work better than honest will. Kazu learns this cruelty the hard way, even though her ‘friend’ warned her earlier.Mishima is a genius, he brings every conflict, external or internal, beautifully. Kazu’s fear of loneliness after death and her love of Setsugoan’s life end in a satisfying ending, for both her and Noguchi. Mishima writes her emotion thoroughly, what motivates her to do one action, and other next. Readers also get a good and thorough understanding on how politic in Japan —which, surprisingly, is similar to everywhere else —ran in that era.A delightful banquet by Japan’s most influential writer, indeed.

  • Graham Wilhauk
    2019-05-04 18:33

    Mishima is just incredible. It is a SHAME we don't have very many of his works translated into English. In fact, if I am correct, there are only 11 of his novels translated into English out of 40 or 45 novels. It is a shame and if I ever am able to encourage people to translate one author's work, it will be Mishima. As an artist, Yukio Mishima was amazing and is REALLY impacting me whenever I pick up one of his books. Now, let's get to "After the Banquet."The story of a small restaurant owner pursuing a much more luxurious life by marrying a retired politician is certainly a roller coaster of emotions. The first half of the book makes you cheer on the main character, the second half makes you want to slap her as hard as you can. This is the power of characters like this. I HATE it when people say they always look for likability in a character. Well, I don't in any way, shape, and form and Kazu, while despicable in practice, is FASCINATING as a character. Her relationship and her development is powerful and hard to take in at times. I adored her character. Also, the writing is amazing. I ADORE Mishima's style and I have already talked about it to death. So, I won't go on about it. However, there is one problem I have with this book. While Kazu is a PHENOMENAL protagonist, the other characters, while not bad AT ALL, are definitely weaker in retrospect. I know the focus here is Kazu and I appreciate Mishima for acknowledging that fact. However, I would LOVED to have seen more interest in developing the other characters more, especially Noguchi. However, I was still able to care about the story through Kazu, so it isn't a HORRIBLE loss. So overall, I thought "After the Banquet" was another great addition into Yukio Mishima's already stellar bibliography. I would not start with this one, though. I would do "Confessions of a Mask" and "The Sound of Waves" first. If you liked those, I think that this would be a great one to read! I highly recommend this!I am giving this one a 4 out of 5 stars.

  • William
    2019-04-28 14:47

    Death figures heavily in the writing of Yukio Mishima, as even a casual reader knows. However, his 1960 novel, "After the Banquet," does not fit so neatly into the complete body of work.Mishima himself grouped his novels into two categories - pièces noires and pièces roses, of which "After the Banquet" falls in the former category. It has a female protagonist and dashes of humor, and it displays an advanced and detached understanding of contemporary Japanese domestic politics. And its stance on death, more than anything, gives it a place of its own among Mishima's bloody and brilliant works."After the Banquet" opens with Kazu, the female owner of the Setsuogoan, a Tokyo restaurant frequented by the powerful and rich. Kazu's ownership is the culmination of a long climb to respectability, and her reputation as a hostess is well-known and well-earned. Her life changes when she meets Noguchi, a semi-retired former minister possessing a quiet style and a proud, stubborn, antique modesty.The two form an attachment that later leads to marriage, though laying dormant in their relationship is their incompatibility. Kazu has a fierce, protective love for Noguchi, but we understand that she also sees their marriage as the final seal on her acceptance into polite society. But she is, at long last, an independent woman, and her love for the diplomat is complicated by the demands of her owning the Setsuogoan. Noguchi then begins a political campaign that Kazu takes part in, to the frustration of her husband. She discovers another part of herself in the process."After the Banquet" does not often get into the heads of its characters, dwelling instead on details of dress and scenery, going so far as to produce the menu for certain meals at social occasions. There may have been other reasons for this beyond simple considerations of style. Mishima based the story on events in the life of a real politician, Hachiro Arita, who later sued for invasion of privacy in a famous Japanese legal case.One is constantly reminded that Noguchi and Kazu are older characters, though Noguchi is the more elderly. He has come to see his marriage as his final home, Mishima writes, and Kazu sees it as her tomb. "But people cannot go on living inside a tomb," the narrator's voice intones. When Noguchi takes Kazu to his family cemetery plot, and she encounters the grave of his first wife, we suddenly get a peek inside her head:"Kazu had had no opportunity even at the wedding to meet the living members of Noguchi's family, but she could imagine how the dead ones with their high principles and absolute incorruptibility had transmitted the family's heritage to succeeding generations. Grinding poverty, obsequiousness, lies, contemptible natures - these were no concern of this family. Confused memories returned of obscene parties in country restaurants, of drunken customers thrusting their hands inside an innocent girl's kimono, of a runaway girl shrinking in terror as she boarded a night train, of back alleys in the city, of bought caresses, of petty ruses of every sort employed to protect herself, of the domineering kisses of cold-hearted men, of contempt mixed with affection, of a persistent craving for revenge against an unknown adversary: such experiences were surely undreamed of by this family."Suddenly, we see Kazu has had a desperate fear of death, as though her life and its struggle would disappear into nothingness at the moment she leaves the earth. At one point in the book, Kazu realizes her possessions, symbolized by a vast collection of kimonos, is meaningless, and she feels "a desolation as if her flesh were suddenly melting away." By marrying a man of means and prestige, she has insured that one day she will buried among his family, her name finally having status and meaning. She perceives that death is the ultimate negation of her vital, emotional life. But by marrying, she has cheated her inevitable destiny.She returns to the cemetery on election day, after lighting a candle before a Buddhist altar. She has a strange expectation that she can somehow woo the spirit of the former Mrs. Noguchi into bringing about an election victory supernaturally. Even the fact that mosquitoes are biting her is taken as a hardship, the endurance of which will bring about a reward."What do you say? Let's join hands, one woman to another, and help him win somehow." Kazu felt as if a beautiful friendship for this woman she had never met was rapidly materializing, and she wept a little. "What a fine lady, a fine lady. I am sure that if you were still alive we'd become good friends!"Noguchi's defeat, which seems inevitable after a pamphlet reveals Kazu's notorious career for the voters, dooms the marriage. The couple cannot stay together because Noguchi had wanted a quiet retirement, while Kazu still longs for the Setsuogoan. In a decision much like Huck Finn's resolution to "go to hell" in helping a slave escape to freedom, Kazu chooses, in a sense, oblivion."There flashed before Kazu's eyes an unvisited grave in some desolate cemetery, belonging to someone who had died without a family...If Kazu were no longer a member of the Noguchi family, she would assuredly travel a straight road leading to that desolate grave...But something was calling Kazu for the distance. An animated life, every day wildly busy, many people coming and going - something like a perpetually blazing fire called her. That world held no resignation or abandoned hopes, no complicated principles; it was insincere and all its inhabitants fickle, but in return, drink and laughter bubbled up lightheartedly. That world seen from here looked like the torchlight of dancers scorching the night sky on a hilltop beyond dark meadows."In this sense, Kazu is not very different from other "heroes" in the Mishima universe, for whom death is simply another, more final statement of life that adds a meaning, even if the meaning is meaningless. Like much of his audience, it is now that matters - knowing it will not last makes even the pain somehow sweet, in the sort of sad, philosophical sense that only a writer can believe. After the banquet, it is the hired help who cleans up after the celebrants. And the party becomes just another memory, if only for the sober.

  • M. Jundurrahmaan
    2019-05-19 19:49

    Though I'd like to give this a 4 due to the incredibly heaped layer of love story (including two scenes; (1). Yamazaki and Kazu at the theater (2). Yamazaki and Kazu held hands together--both which made me winced), I get what Mishima mean by the political backdrop of this novel; considering just mere shy of a few years after he published After the Banquet, he committed a coup d'etat later on killing himself through harakiri with one of his disciples. Very foreshadowing because Noguchi, stood still with his ideals even after he and Kazu left each other (considering this is what Yamazaki implied on his letter in the end) as well as after losing the Elections like Mishima did with his fame during his later years, hits close to this character grown inside of Mishima throughout his later years.But in the end, what's written in the book is almost incredibly theatrical in terms of description and the like. A satisfying read indeed.[4.8/5.0]

  • Putri Prihatini
    2019-05-21 19:30

    After the Banquet can be read as many things. It is a quiet character study, intimate details of career politics in Japan, an ode of doubt toward life choices taken when one is aging, a clash of gender expectations, and a story of strong woman who tries her best to find her place and set feet firmly on the ground despite the consequences of all her decisions. Mishima had an eye for details, and even simplest gestures such as the way someone eats, or how eyes will glance toward certain orchid pot, can prompt deep and surprisingly revealing passages. Both Kazu and Noguchi are complex characters, without falling into tropes. You can't help but admiring them at some points, and wanting to smack their heads on other pages. Some of the pages might feel a little draggy, but this makes a quiet, almost meditative reading.