Author: Mishima Yukio
Publication Date: 2001 (1970)
Genre: Modern Classics
Source: Xmas Gift
Yukio Mishima’s The Temple of Dawn is the third novel in his masterful tetralogy, The Sea of Fertility. Here, Shigekuni Honda continues his pursuit of the successive reincarnations of Kiyoaki Matsugae, his childhood friend.
Travelling in Thailand in the early 1940s, Shigekuni Honda, now a brilliant lawyer, is granted an audience with a young Thai princess—an encounter that radically alters the course of his life. In spite of all reason, he is convinced she is the reincarnated spirit of his friend Kiyoaki. As Honda goes to great lengths to discover for certain if his theory is correct, The Temple of Dawn becomes the story of one man’s obsessive pursuit of a beautiful woman and his equally passionate search for enlightenment.
The Temple of Dawn was an improvement on its predecessor. There was a brief digression into religious discussion, but otherwise it was more character focused again. It was interesting to see Honda in another stage of his life though still obsessed by the memory of Kiyoaki. As always with Mishima's writing, the prose is lyrical and descriptive and you get a wonderful sense of place. This book gets 4.5 stars from me.