When her husband finds out, he is furious. Noguchi is an interesting object of study because under all his lofty ideals and political integrity , he is a rather selfish and self-centered man. The feelings and actions of the woman he married are completely foreign to him. Not only he doesn't understand his wife, but he also doesn't understand people - common people. Unlike Kazu who clearly has the "common touch" as Kipling would put it. To cut a more complex story short: Noguchi looses the elections.
In the meanwhile, Kazu had decided to mortgage her restaurant in order to help the campaign. Her husband and her debts force her to sell it.
After The Banquet : Yukio Mishima :
Kazu realises at the end that she doesn't want to sell it. She ends up divorcing her husband because of her decision to keep the restaurant. The restaurant, Setsugoan, begins as the symbol of Kazu's unchanging and easygoing life. Kazu reigned supreme there, unchallenged and loved by her maids who insist on returning when it reopens at the end and by her clients.
When Kazu marries the restaurant looses its interest because there were other more compelling challenges for her to face. When those challenges disappoint her - both politics and her husband's character - she realises that she had what she wanted all along. Setsugoan becomes a Return to the old but at the same time, the beginning of something new, something far better than it initially was.
At the end, there is a sense of belonging that wasn't there in the beginning. What is this story about, then?
After The Banquet
Can someone's nature change? Can we change? Does Kazu change? Kazu's nature never changes. She divorces Noguchi because she realises that we cannot go against what we are. And Kazu was a woman with a constant need for enthusiasm, for solving problems, for people. The life of a retired politician's wife, living in the suburbs of a huge city, could never suit her. But still, Kazu changes. She gains a self-awareness she didn't have before.
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She faces up to her fear - which was her main motivation to stay with her husband - of being forgotten and dying alone. She realises that it is better to die alone than to live alone. Some reviewers have focused a lot on the question of politics, on the corruptibility of men, on the nature of democracy. But I couldn't help but feel that this was but a peripheral question, a way for Kazu to understand herself and her surroundings. And to become reconciled with what she was. Shelves: fiction.
Mishima uses many evocative and beautiful similes and metaphors. The phrases from Kazu's lips - "reform of the prefectural administration," "positive policies to combat unemployment," and the like - plummeted to the ground like swarms of winged ants which have lost the strength of their wings, but the words visible on the lips of the crowd dripped like red meat in the sunshine. Old people out for a walk and leaning on their sticks, smugly respectable housewives, little girls in bare-shouldered Mishima uses many evocative and beautiful similes and metaphors. Old people out for a walk and leaning on their sticks, smugly respectable housewives, little girls in bare-shouldered bathing suits, delivery boys - all were gnawing on bits of Kazu's flesh, and looked at her with heavy, sated eyes.
But it's exhausting and dispiriting to read about a culture in which women are so infantilized. And it's not even really just the women. There's something about the lack of direct communication - every emotion and thought is veiled, everyone wears a mask, there's a mask you wear for your husband, a mask you wear when you run into a woman you despise but must be polite to - that infantilizes the entire Japanese culture.
I don't know enough about Japan to be making sweeping statements like this, but this is my sense based on this novel. I was glad to see Kazu view spoiler [ grow some balls hide spoiler ] at the end of the novel and view spoiler [ leave her husband and return to her restaurant business, which she knew was the only way she could be happy hide spoiler ]. Yukio Mishma's After The Banquet is interesting in the depiction of corruption in politics, but at heart it is a character study of a strong woman, Kazu.
Kazu, runs a restaurant, Setsugen, in Tokyo that is frequented by Japan's political power players. She strikes up an autumn romance with Nouguchi a politico. Their attraction seems somewhat inexplicable-it seems that it gives her a task to take care of the man and then his unlikely campaign for political office. After Noguchi's failure Yukio Mishma's After The Banquet is interesting in the depiction of corruption in politics, but at heart it is a character study of a strong woman, Kazu.
After Noguchi's failure they part ways as the firebrand Kazu will not fade away living a quiet, modest life in the suburbs.
I was interested to learn about "Omizutori"- a series of events giant torches are burned nightly during the duration of the event held annually from March 1st to the 14th at Todaiji Temple that has been held every year for years in Nara. There were a couple of trips to this event in the plot of the novel. Apparently the novel was something of a scandal when it came out since it was modeled on a particular politician of the time and he actually won a ruling that it violated his privacy. In retrospect it is surprising since it is far from a salacious portrayal of an affair.
View 2 comments. Oct 06, J. But once they too were at a crossroads on a festival day. The aging owner of a Tokyo restaurant falls for an even older ex-foreign minister she meets by chance. She decides to secretly back his campaign to become mayor of the capital. That's the plot. But with Mishima's novels, "Ditches rot and stone pavement wears away.
But with Mishima's novels, there is always something thicker than the plot. Here, it is the fading grace of a charming, independent woman who does not want to die alone and unsung. The austere, humorless object of her affections is a conundrum, to her and the reader, and the weird twists and turns of their relationship form the backbone here.
You'll be won over by Mishima's wit and insight from passages like this one: "The sound of his gargling--foamy, granular, bubbling--seemed a proof that he was definitely there, alive before her. If that were true, she too was alive, and there was place for neither boredom nor inaction in such a life.
May 22, David rated it really liked it Shelves: big-red-circle. It's Mishima's book about old people! And he's much kinder than I would have thought. All the men are fairly craggy there's not a hint of the blueness of shaved collar lines , but they and their world are treated with sensitivity and interest. He pokes fun at their self-importance, rituals and politics but doesn't stoop to being too rude about the way they masticate "Thirst for Love" or their bodies poor old Honda and his shrivelled white bean in "Decay of the Angel".
In fact, Kazu feels It's Mishima's book about old people! In fact, Kazu feels repugnance for young men.
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She's a spicy, young fiftysomething with an interesting sexual history, a good body and a fabulous restaurant. Noguchi is the only one of his "retired ambassador" set who is not resigned to living in the past, and this arouses Kazu's interest. They fall into something, which is then consummated on their holiday in Nara.
An unhappy electoral campaign exhausts their short marriage, and Kazu works hard and even more indignity to get back to where she was at the start. View 1 comment. After the Banquet is in one sense, a damning statement of the political - the political apparatus, and the political nature innate in human beings.
It is also a broader social indictment of the period in which Mishima lived. This story is partially based on factual events which occurred in his time. Noguchi, a former government official, keen on spending the remainder of his days quietly, meets an independent and ambitious woman. They marry and she persuades him to run for a high level post in After the Banquet is in one sense, a damning statement of the political - the political apparatus, and the political nature innate in human beings.
They marry and she persuades him to run for a high level post in the government against his better judgement. This is an intriguing story of one woman's implacable self-serving motivations that nearly leads another to ruin. The details, that are carefully and thoughtfully rendered, makes this a bona fide goodread.
Jan 02, Sarah Magdalene rated it it was amazing. After The Banquet I was reading this one just after the election which was appropriate seeing as it all about politics, and about marriage. Mishima is good at describing the hell that is marriage.
Related After The Banquet (Vintage Classics)
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