Get Your Free Audiobook

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 (10 ratings)

Non-member price: $21.69

After 30 days, Audible is $16.45/mo. Cancel anytime.

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

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    7
  • 4 Stars
    2
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    5
  • 4 Stars
    3
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    6
  • 4 Stars
    2
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Gabriel Francy
  • 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).

Subscribe to PewDiePie and get this audiobook

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Erez
  • 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

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Jonathan Lunn
  • 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

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • 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.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Laurie Tolman
  • 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!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for The Lunas
  • 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.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for anniemz
  • 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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anthony
  • 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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Douglas
  • 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.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for jimt-moscow
  • jimt-moscow
  • 19-09-2015

Beautiful writing, very troubling story.

What did you love best about The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With the Sea?

I enjoyed Mishima's prose. He is a master.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

Hearing about post-war Japan.

What about Brian Nishii’s performance did you like?

He reads with real authenticity. Doesn't trip over Japanese names or words.

If you could rename The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With the Sea, what would you call it?

Birth of a serial killer.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Antti
  • Antti
  • 23-10-2014

The Tragedy of Both Worlds

I have wandered through two long audiobooks, Dickens' "Bleak House" and Pynchon's "Against the Day", the latter in which I became lost so irretrievably that I needed a rescue team to get me out - I have no intentions to return in the foreseeable future, despite "Mason & Dixon" occupying the top spot in my books as my favourite piece of literature.

In short, I needed a change, preferably something modest in length. A Japanese friend of mine, a teacher of Japanese literature, recommended Mishima, and to my joy there are a few audiobooks available here on Audible.

I started with "The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With the Sea", and I was thoroughly impressed. Not only is there some utterly beautiful language, which also means that the English translation is commendable, but the sheer energy of the narrative is superb. Sure, this is a dark place to descend to, but Mishima really knows how to take us there: despite the short length of the novel, he takes his time, sets up the pieces, and not only alludes to a violent climax, he makes it the obvious outcome by the time of the ruby heart in the boys' hands. Yet still, when we get to the inevitable, he is able to transcend mere brutality, angst and anarchism. It's a masterful ending to a masterfully narrated story, and I hope I'm not spoiling too much by pointing out how wonderful it really is.

The book is a modern tale of alienation, and, as the Chief states towards the end, "the world is empty." I think Mishima is able to describe that emptiness evocatively enough to make it plausible, but also do the nigh-impossible, that is, not severe his ties with the other world, which in the novel is the world of the adults, and parents. And because of the fluidity of his writing, it feels like he's guiding us on a boat through the river, whence we can see both shores, and the tragedy of both worlds.

Next, I'm going to listen to the sound of waves.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Benjamin Aaron Carl Hill
  • Benjamin Aaron Carl Hill
  • 29-05-2019

Great Book.

I highly recommend this book and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 04-04-2018

Food for thought.

Interesting development and delivers a surreal experience overall, worth my time! Will be interesting to find more novels from this author, I enjoyed every second.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anders
  • Anders
  • 04-01-2015

magnificent!

wonderfully exciting all senses. love Mishima. waiting for forgotten colours to come audio. make it happen!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Jan
  • Jan
  • 13-04-2011

Scary, japanese

Hypnotic, scary. The language is beautiful, the story sharply defined, the message unnerving. Probably worth a reread or two

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for FictionFan
  • FictionFan
  • 30-05-2017

Nasty...

If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

People who like dark, grubby little books with episodes of animal cruelty. And newspaper critics.

You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Some of the language is quite good.

Any additional comments?

A nasty little book about nasty little boys being nasty. I tolerated the boy spying on his mother's naked body and then on her having sex. I put up with the pretentious, unrealistic conversation the boys have amongst themselves about the existential emptiness of life. But I abandoned it at the point when they were just about to kill a kitten for fun. Not for me.

2 of 7 people found this review helpful