There is in this world a kind of desire like stinging pain' A Japanese teenager is overcome with longing for his male classmate. He imagines his body punctured with arrows, like the body of St Sebastian in the painting that obsesses him. Over and over again, each night in his private fantasies, the objects of his lust are tortured, killed and maimed. But, in the rigid world of imperial wartime Japan there is place for such transgressive desires. He must wear a false mask and hide his true nature, whatever the cost.
Yukio Mishima was born in 1925 in Tokyo, and is considered one of the Japan's most important writers. His books broke social boundaries and taboos at a time when Japan found itself in a state of rapid social change. His interests besides writing included body-building, acting, and practising as a Samurai. In 1970 he attempted to start a military coup, which failed. Upon realising this, Mishima performed seppuku, a ritual suicide, upon himself. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize for literature three times. His major novels include Confessions of a Mask, Forbidden Colours (also a Penguin Modern Classic), The Temple of the Golden Pavilion, The Sailor Who Fell From Grace with the Sea and the tetralogy The Sea of Fertility- Spring Snow, Runaway Horses, The Temple of Dawn and The Decay of the Angel.