Books: Pennant in the Wind

SPRING SNOW

by YUKIO MISHIMA;

translated by MICHAEL GALLAGHER

389 pages. Knopf. $7.95.

Whatever the critics may think, writers still have a touching faith in the old-fashioned novel, and it is fascinating to see just what products can emerge when a modern novelist sets about writing one. Spring Snow is the first installment of Yukio Mishima's latest fictional testament. Three more volumes will follow, the final one delivered to the publisher only a day before the author killed himself by ritual disembowelment (seppuku) after his bizarre attempt to foment an uprising in the Japanese...

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