Runaway Horses, Paperback
3 out of 5 (2 ratings)


Isao is a young, engaging patriot, and a fanatical believer in the ancient samurai ethos.

He turns terrorist, organising a violent plot against the new industrialists, who he believes are threatening the integrity of Japan and usurping the Emperor's rightful power.

As the conspiracy unfolds and unravels, Mishima brilliantly chronicles the conflicts of a decade that saw the fabric of Japanese life torn apart.




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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

Combined review for Spring Snow, Runaway Horses, The Temple of Dawn and The decay of the Angel - which together make up the Sea of Fertility.Spring Snow succeeds for me only for its painting of a lost period in Japan - of the privileged and their privileges. In other ways it fails - the obsession with 'elegance' and 'good movements' and 'beauty' leaves me no wiser as the causes and principles involved.Runaway Horses moves forward 20 years, to a second incarnation of the principal of these stories. Again fails to to convince as the source and power of the obsessions (Japan-ness. ritual suicide etc). At the end, we know they exist, but not why. The Temple of Dawn is the weakest of the four books with turgid page after turgid page of Buddhist and other religious exposition. Is this a cheap cure for writer's block? The reincarnation this time is as Thai princess. Remarkably, the main character, Honda, becomes a hardcore voyeur halfway through this volume. The voyeuristic writing is good - it is almost as if Mishima wanted to get this writing out, and Honda was the available character!The Decay of the Angel is the shortest volume (running out of things to say?) and again fails to deliver. The latest incarnation is Angel-like(!). Spare me. The most remarkable aspect is Mishima's ritual suicide on the day he finished writing this last volume. If he was aiming for immortality, all he achieved was a quirky footnote to literary history.

Review by

Another beautifully written book, but depressing. Reading about ultra rightwing teenagers in 1930s Japan who are obsessed with their own brand of moral purity to the extent that they would commit suicide against a backdrop of current affairs that include Islamic fundamentalism, Russian imperialism, political nationalism in the UK, and the right to bear arms gone mad in the US was hard.I think I know where David Mitchell got his reincarnation idea from for the Ghostwritten/number9dream/Cloud Atlas story arcs, though.