Thirst for Love ( Yukio Mishima )

4 April 2015
Critical review of pessimistic novel depicting love as violent, contradictory & impossible to achieve or maintain.

Yukio Mishima, in his novel Thirst for Love, tells the story of a young woman, Etsuko, and her longing for a young gardener, Saburo. In fact, it is not a true thirst for love which drives Etsuko, for when she is finally on the apparent verge of winning the young man’s affections, she reacts with violent rejection rather than acceptance. Mishima’s novel, then, is about Etsuko’s inability to love, to accept love, or even to begin to understand the difference between love and violent lust. The novel focuses on the brutality of physical longing, and there is no sign in the book that Etsuko -or any other character, for that matter -has any notion of what real love is or how to get it. The violent response of Etsuko to her object of desire shows that from the author’s point of view, love is either unattainable or blatantly appalling. Etsuko is driven to love, to seek love, but love in…
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