Spring 1963 • Vol. XXV No. 2 Book ReviewsApril 1, 1963 |

A Key but No Lock

Edward Seidensticker A KEY BUT NO LOCK AFTER THE BANQUET by Yukio Mishima. Translated by Donald Keene. Alfred A. Knopf, $4.00. THE NOVEL AT HAND IS A roman ai clef-and yet somehow it is not. One thinks of romans a' clef as be- ing satirical. There is no satirical intent here. Again, one feels that a roman a clef should require a bit of working, so that, once having found his way in, the reader feels pleased with himself, and certain that not just everyone could have done as well. Here the characters and incidents are transparent. They are so transparent, indeed, that they have resulted in a re- markable lawsuit. It is still in liti- gation, and will be for years. The adversaries are Yukio Mishima, the man who is usually called Japan's most gifted young novelist, and Hachiro Arita, an elderly gentleman whose conservative career before the war was climaxed by a period of service as foreign minister, and whose socialist career after the war ended in a disastrous attempt to be- come gov

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