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 untill 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.
Yukio Mishima was born into a samurai family and imbued with the code of complete control over mind and body, and loyalty to the Emperor - the same code that produced the austerity and self-sacrifice of Zen. He wrote countless stories and thirty-three plays, in some of which he performed. Several films have been made from his novels, including The Sound of Waves, Enjo which was based on The Temple of the Golden Pavilion and The Sailor Who Fell From Grace with the Sea. Among his other works are the novels Confessions of a Mask and Thirst for Love and the short story collections Death in Midsummer and Acts of Worship. The Sea of Fertility tetralogy, however, is his masterpiece. After Mishima conceived the idea of The Sea of Fertility in 1964, he frequently said he would die when it was completed. On 25 November 1970, the day he completed The Decay of the Angel, the last novel of the cycle, Mishima committed seppuku (ritual suicide) at the age of forty-five.