The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With The Sea

The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With The Sea
Yukio Mishima

A short, dark and erotic/perverse look at puberty and group mentality.

Looking back at this work, (which I first read about 2 years ago) just after reading Sound of The Waves, there are some interesting comparisons. Both are about boys who have lost their fathers. Both also have much to do with budding romance/sexuality. However, from these similarities, Mishima leads us in very different directions.

In my review of the former I suggested hints of the romantic in Mishima, which when mixed with his mental illness (I mean, obviously, he had some issues) led to massive disappointment and disillusionment with the world. Here, instead of teenage romance, our 13 year old experiments with his feelings by watching his own mother, first undressing alone, and later with her new boyfriend, the titular sailor.

Of course, Mishima is here leading us into a disturbed young man, but the appearance of the sailor appears to bring some hope. The boy could certainly use a male role model, and for a short time, it appears hopeful, that is, until the boy begins to fall deeper and deeper under the influence of different males, those being his friends.

The actions of these boys is probably the best reason for many not to read this short novel. I won't go into to much detail, except to say that if the sexualization of the boy's mother is bothersome, then the young serial killer like experiments in the woods will turn your stomach and ruin any of the insight and beauty of the prose in this work.

Overall, this is a continuing example of a writer falling more and more into the darkness he sees in the world. It's recommendable if you can handle the perversity and darkness, otherwise best to skip this one.