Author: Mishima Yukio
Publication Date: 2019 (1961)
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
All eyes are upon Rikio. And he likes it, mostly. His fans cheer from a roped-off section, screaming and yelling to attract his attention. They would kill for a moment alone with him. Finally the director sets up the shot, the camera begins to roll, someone yells "action"; Rikio, for a moment, transforms into another being, a hardened young yakuza, but as soon as the shot is finished, he slumps back into his own anxieties and obsessions.
Written shortly after Yukio Mishima himself had acted in the film Afraid to Die, this novella is a rich and unflinching psychological portrait of a celebrity coming apart at the seams as the absurdity of his existence comes sharply into focus. With exquisite, vivid prose, Star begs the question: is there ever any escape from how we are seen by others?
Star was a short but intriguing read. The prose flows nicely, with some great imagery, and even though it's only 90 pages long, we get a great sense of Rikio's character. The story is essentially a glimpse at the disillusionment that accompanies fame, and I thought that theme came across well. Intriguingly, I both liked and disliked Rikio in almost equal measure and I was deeply invested in what would happen to him, even in such a short space of time. Perhaps Star does not have the genius of some of Mishima's longer works, but it is well worth a read if you are already a fan of his writing.
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