“He heard the sound of waves striking the shore, and it was as though the surging of his young blood was keeping time with the movement of the sea’s great tides. It was doubtless because nature itself satisfied his need that Shinji felt no particular lack of music in his everyday life.”
Paperback, 183 pages.
Read from December 5 to 6, 2016.
I can’t remember how I came across this novel. Maybe Goodreads? Or perhaps on a list of great Japanese literature? However I came across it, I am glad I did.
Yukio Mishima, whose real name was Kimitake Hiraoka, is a Japanese author, poet, playwright, actor, and film director and is considered one of the most important Japanese authors of the 20th century. He committed ritual suicide at the age of forty-five in 1970. Though it is speculated that the ritual part of it was just a cover and that he had been planning his suicide for some time.
The Sound of Waves is a fiction/romance of two star-crossed lovers. Shinji is a young fisherman growing up in a small rural village in Japan. His life is uncomplicated, satisfying and fulfilling. That is until the day he meets Hatsue. Hatsue is the daughter of the wealthiest man in the village and Shinji is certain that a girl like him will never take notice of someone like him. She is beautiful and men in the village are all entranced with her. However, everyone is certain that she will marry the arrogant and prominent young man, Yasuo. As fate would have it, Hatsue had taken noticed Shinji and the two of them eventually meet and confess their attractions. Their meetings however have not gone unnoticed by another girl, Chiyoko, who is interested in Shinji. Out of jealousy, Chiyoko starts a nasty rumour about Shinji and Hatsue, resulting in the two lovers being banned from seeing each other. In the end, Shinji must risk his life to prove his love to Hatsue and to win over her family.
The best part about this book? Is that I could guess how it was going to end and I still loved it. So many stories published today have complicated plots and dynamic characters, all of which are awesome, but you get so caught up in convoluted plots that sometimes you forget the potency of a well written, simple, and yet beautiful story. This book is a boy-meets-girl and star-crossed lovers scenario with a happy and predictable ending, and I really liked that. A happy predictable ending. Sometimes you just want that in a book.
And hey, I am not a romantic by any stretch and I still loved this story. The prose is magnificent and picturesque. The characters are simple, noble and riveting and it is easy to lose yourself in their world. Overall I would recommend this book to anyone who just wants to get lost in a beautiful story.