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Because of the boyhood trauma of seeing his mother make love to another man in the presence of his dying father, Mizoguchi becomes a hopeless stutterer. Taunted by his schoolmates, he feels utterly alone until he becomes an acolyte at a famous temple in Kyoto. He quickly becomes obsessed with the beauty of the temple. Even when tempted by a friend into exploring the geisha district, he cannot escape its image. In the novel's soaring climax, he tries desperately to free himself from his fixation.
Yukio Mishima was born in Tokyo, Japan, in 1925. One of Japan’s most acclaimed and well-known authors of the 20th century, his works include The Sailor who Fell from Grace with the Sea, The Sound of Waves, and the Sea of Fertility tetralogy (Spring Snow, Runaway Horses, The Temple of Dawn, and The Decay of the Angel). He died in 1970.