Death in Midsummer

Death in Midsummer


Ten tales of loss and longing, from one one Japan's greatest writers

It was the height of summer, and there was anger in the rays of the sun

A summer holiday that turns to tragedy; a moonlit journey to fulfil a wish; a couple’s unusual way of making a living; a young lieutenant who ends his life; a night of infidelities. This selection contains nine short stories and one modern Noh play by one of Japan’s greatest writers. Selected by Mishima himself for translation, they are by turns tender and delicate, ironic and shocking, showing the strange pull between duty and desire, death and beauty.

‘He can be funny, even hilarious, but he is also capable of plunging into the dark psychic depths achieved by Hitchcock’ New York Times Book Review

Translated by Edward G. Seidensticker, Ivan Morris, Donald Keene and Geoffrey W. Sargent

About the author

Yukio Mishima

Yukio Mishima was born into a samurai family and imbued with the code of complete control over mind and body, and loyalty to the Emperor – the same code that produced the austerity and self-sacrifice of Zen. He wrote countless short stories and thirty-three plays, in some of which he acted. Several films have been made from his novels, including The Sound of Waves; Enjo, which was based on The Temple of the Golden Pavilion; and The Sailor Who Fell From Grace with the Sea. Among his other works are the novels Confessions of a Mask and Thirst For Love and the short-story collections Death in Midsummer and Acts of Worship.

The Sea of Fertility tetralogy, however, is his masterpiece. After Mishima conceived the idea of The Sea of Fertility in 1964, he frequently said he would die when it was completed. On November 25th, 1970, the day he completed The Decay of the Angel, the last novel of the cycle, Mishima committed seppuku (ritual suicide) at the age of forty-five.
Learn More

Sign up to the Penguin Newsletter

For the latest books, recommendations, author interviews and more