Yukio Mishima’s Confessions of a Mask catapulted him to literary stardom, and it’s easy to see why. Written in decadent, elegant prose, the novel chronicles the strain between the narrator’s dark fantasies and obsessions and respectable, interwar Japanese society, and his further regression into those fantasies and obsessions as he finds himself isolated from society. With its frank depiction of false modesty, unflinching confessions of otherwise-unspoken darkness, and its obsession with death, eroticism and the link between the two, it doesn’t make for easy reading, but it does make for immensely rewarding and provocative reading.

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