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The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With the Sea

Narrated by: Brian Nishii
Length: 4 hrs and 34 mins
Categories: Fiction, Literary
4.5 out of 5 stars (12 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A band of savage 13-year-old boys reject the adult world as illusory, hypocritical, and sentimental, and train themselves in a brutal callousness they call 'objectivity'. When the mother of one of them begins an affair with a ship's officer, he and his friends idealise the man at first; but it is not long before they conclude that he is in fact soft and romantic. They regard this disallusionment as an act of betrayal on his part - and the retribution is deliberate and horrifying.

©1965 Copyright 1965 by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. Copyright renewed 1993 by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. Originally published in Japanese as Gogo No Eiko by Kodansha in 1963. (P)2010 Audible, Inc

Critic Reviews

"Mishima's greatest novel, and one of the greatest of the past century." ( The Times)
"Coolly exact with his characters and their honourable motives. His aim is to make the destruction of the sailor by his love seem as inevitable as the ocean." ( Guardian)
"Told with Mishima's fierce attention to naturalistic detail, the grisly tale becomes painfully convincing and yields a richness of psychological and mythic truth." ( Sunday Times)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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great

amazing style of writing. it doesn't matter what this author writes about, although I enjoyed the story, it was the artform or this authors style that captivates me

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  • Erez
  • 22-11-2012

Unsettling writing, flawed reading

I can only agree with a previous reviewer. The novel itself is very moving and exquisitely done. It has a fluid, effortless flow, and at the same time is unrelentingly brutal (and really not for the faint of heart). In some aspects it reminded me of "The Lord of the Flies", of "Crime and Punishment" and Sartre's "The Nausea". In one of the strongest scenes in the book, a group of boys kill and "dissect" a stray kitten in order to train themselves in "perfect lack of feeling" -- I had a very hard time listening to this. But the most striking thing is the seeming ease with which the writing shifts between points of view, between past and present, between events and reminiscences. It could have been an outstanding audiobook.

But unfortunately it isn't, and that is due to the reader. It's a shame, because Brian Nishii reads very clearly and pronounces all the Japanese names correctly. But for some reason he almost always seems to emphasize the wrong part of the sentence. It's as if he reads every sentence separately, with no notion of context. In the end, it was possible to follow and enjoy the writing, but I had to overcome the flaws in the narration to do that. And that's the exact opposite of what an audiobook narrator should do.

Bottom line: recommended, but proceed with caution.

13 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • Gabriel Francy
  • 22-01-2019

Good Book

PewDiePie recemended this book through a video he uploaded a while ago, So I bought the book and and go ahead and got the audio book to make it easier on myself to read it. The voice is good and all the words are pronounced correctly (even the names which are Japanese).

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8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 10-11-2019

And....I'm done with Mishima

This is not a bad book. If you're new to Mishima, or you're a die hard fan of Mishima's style, this book will be great for you. This is my 3rd Mishima novel, and the third that follows an outsider who feels empty and misplaced, a sadistic sidekick, and a slow story that ends with a premeditated act of violence. It was interesting the first time. Less the second. Even less so this time.

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  • Jonathan Lunn
  • 07-10-2019

Weird / dark

What the heck did I just listen too?? Very day and morbid. Not at all what I thought it was going to be

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  • Anonymous User
  • 19-04-2019

Don't make this your first Mishima Novel

Although the novel is relatively short, the style and detailed poetic descriptions of EVERY SINGLE MOMENT, feels less inspiring and more like a chore to get through.

I think I'm at fault for undertaking this one not knowing of the poetic and slow paced structure of the novel.

The general plot is simple to the point of being boring up until the last few chapters, it is worth the wait if you're mindful of this

There is something great here and I need to revisit this sometime in the future after maybe reading some of his other work.

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  • Laurie Tolman
  • 04-01-2019

weird story but beautiful writing from Mishima!

the narrator for is good, i did have to speed it up
overall very nice!

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  • The Lunas
  • 23-11-2018

A dark tale of honor and glory

This was my first read by Mishima. I found the narrator to be decent enough - a bit of a lack of inflection at times. The story was very interesting, and certainly a deviation from what many westerners read and are used to in literature. Would recommend for those interested in Japanese novels.

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  • anniemz
  • 15-04-2018

The ending that sticks with you

I started reading this being fascinated and intrigued by the way the little boys think and look at the life , however the more i get into it more fascination turned into uncomfortable feeling of disgrace . What’s interesting is though , this little boys themselves talk about how adults see kids as innocent and do not except the unexpected from them this is the main reason i give it 4 stars and not 3 .
However disgusting their thoughts are it’s hard to disagree with them on many points .
As with “ the golden temple” this book leaves many points for discussions and debates

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  • Anthony
  • 20-12-2016

Excellent reading

This is the third Mishima work read by Brian Nishii that I've listened to now. He has really grown on me. His subdued style works well and does not become intrusive. As a student of Japanese, I appreciate that he actually knows how to pronounce

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  • Douglas
  • 07-03-2016

Dark, Haunting...

Lyrical and rich, this novel renders the pain and confusion of adolescence, the mystery and ardor of life. A wonderful piece of Japanese literature.