After the Banquet by Yukio Mishima is a novel about Kazu, a business owner of a restaurant in Japan, trying to get her husband, Noguchi, a retired politician, back into politics. Kazu meets Noguchi when one of Noguchi’s close friends collapses in her restaurant. The two seem unlikely, since Kazu is described as a more outgoing and talkative type, while Noguchi is a quiet older man. Kazu falls in love with Noguchi partially because of his demeanor and partially because she wants to be in a respectable grave like his family’s when she dies. Kazu, throughout Noguchi’s campaign, is seen as the mastermind and the one to sway people’s votes. Though, once the opposing party distributes pamphlets describing Kazu’s scandalous and predatory actions, Noguchi’s campaign loses. Arguments, and divorce ensue, with the final part of the novel ending where each character started: Kazu tending to her restaurant and Noguchi living in obscurity.
I loved how the novel worked to show the dynamic between not only Kazu and Noguchi, but also Kazu and her campaign partner, and finally Kazu and her old friend. As the novel went on, Kazu not only got more and more desperate, but also her endearing façade quickly crumbled. From the news of her early illegal campaigning to her past lovers, Kazu was always in a stew of controversy. Overall, the politics and the character dynamics were entertaining to watch unfold.
Final Rating: 4/5
Maxwell Suzuki is a writer, poet, and photographer based in Los Angeles.