Its official; I’m behind schedule! Today I finished reading the 29th book of 2021, and it’s already week 31. But listen, I can explain. Really.
I just like, I just really really hated the book that I read! No offense or anything! It was simply not my cup of tea and I am so incredibly happy to be able to move on. But I’ve complained about Yukio Mishima’s Spring Snow for a while now, and I’ve told you why I like the books I’ve liked, so it only makes sense to tell you why I didn’t like this one, too!
Why I Hated Spring Snow [spoilers]
First of all, I’d like to start off by saying that Spring Snow is not a bad book. I did not like it, but that doesn’t make it bad. Does that make sense?
It was just one of those books that was like “wow! This was definitely written by a man.”
There’s a scene where a woman is on trial for murder, and he goes on to talk about how her “nipples were tight with fear” and describes the audience imagining the line of her “too full buttocks,” all after a passage emphasizing the complexity of her crime. Its soOoOo complex, but first, just so ya know, her brights were on!
Spoiler alert! The crime was not that complex. The woman was on trial for murder. See, she was a nagging wife. Her husband was sleeping with other women because of his wife’s incessant nagging. So she went to one of the other women, a sex worker, and asked her to stop f*cking her husband. The other woman mocked her, so the wife stabbed the sex worker to death. Super complex, right?
Generally, I found the women in the book to just fall flat. The single women were all either conniving and couldn’t be trusted, or else they were nuns. There were the classic nagging wives, the chatterbox wives who never shut up, and there were the wives who went along with everything their husbands said.
Three characters in the book had romantic interests, and those gals were described as the epitome of beauty.
One was only referred to, she never played an active role in the story, and she ended up dying. While on her death bed, of course, she spoke only of the prince whom she loved; not about her family or friends or anything else. How noble.
Another was a mistress of the house, and the servant was in love with her. He assaults her and she yields, happy to “provide physical comfort” to this troubled young man. Because “providing physical comfort” is her purpose in life, she’s happy to fulfill it. Meanwhile, the servant is getting off on treating her violently. They end up getting married. How noble.
Last, but certainly not least, is Satoko. She’s first portrayed as being a trickster, as playing with the main character’s emotions. Our main character, Kiyoaki, has no interest in her at all, and even goes out of his way to hurt her. Until a prince from the Imperial Family successfully proposes to her. Then, he’s madly in love with her. She’s transformed into an ideal of beauty, an unattainable piece of art, a conquest. She’s been in love with him the whole time, but he doesn’t like…..her consent, I guess? But now that she ‘belongs to someone else,’ now he has to have her. Oh, and did I mention that he thinks she’s the most beautiful when she cries?
So they have an affair. Its dangerous and treacherous but they have to see each other. Surprise surprise, Satoko gets pregnant before her wedding to the Prince! Her servant talks her into getting an abortion, then the sneaky servant tells Satoko and Kiyoaki’s parents all about the affair and the pregnancy and tries to commit suicide out of shame for the betrayal. How noble.
After the abortion, Satoko decides that if she can’t be with Kiyoaki, then she’d rather never be with another man again. She gives up her worldly life and resigns herself to the life of an ascetic Buddhist nun, swearing to never see her love again. How oh so very noble and committed of her! Its not like she could have just refused the marriage proposal from the start (she could have refused).
Upon hearing that his love has become a nun, Kiyoaki makes his way down to see her, but is denied the opportunity. He tries and tries, but the nuns won’t let him see his lover, who’s sworn to never see him again. His health begins to decline, but still he doesn’t give up, even as he’s coughing up blood climbing the mountain to try to see Satoko.
The best part of the book, in my opinion, was the ending. Kiyoaki, the cold, handsome rich kid who looks down on most of his peers and consistently avoids accountability for his problems, he dies of a broken heart. Good riddance.
Most of the reviews I’ve read of this book talk about the melancholic tone of it. Maybe I’m a bit of a cynic, but I didn’t read melancholy into any of Spring Snow. It was just about a stuck up rich kid who, when he didn’t get his way, died. Aww, how sad.
Thank you so much for reading! 🌸