Saturday 9 April 2022

Book Review: The Temple of the Golden Pavilion by Mishima Yukio (Modern Classic)

Title: The Temple of the Golden Pavilion
Author: Mishima Yukio
Publisher: Tuttle
Publication Date: 2008 (1956)
Pages: 262
Format: Paperback
Genre: Modern Classics
Source: Bought Copy

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, where he develops an all-consuming obsession with the temple's beauty. This powerful story of dedication and sacrifice brings together Mishima's preoccupations with violence, desire, religion and national history to dazzling effect.


The Temple of the Golden Pavilion was another excellent work by Mishima. The book offers a wonderful psychological character study of Mizoguchi. I understand from the introduction that it was loosely based on real events, but that Mishima adapted that real-life tale in his own way. As always, Mishima's prose is lush and full of detail, the principal characters drawn in a compelling way that pulls you in. Those with a deeper knowledge of Buddhism might get more than I did from the references to Zen practices, but even with my limited understanding, I could follow the thrust of the thoughts and ideas presented. It was certainly a compelling read from start to finish.

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