Another glittering, miraculously intricate and strenuously philosophical novel by the prolific Japanese writer, who has before investigated the nature of purity, of cruelty, of beauty and youth. With overtones of a number of Western writers (James, Wilde, Swift) this novel examines the progress of a beautiful youth, Yuichi, passionately adored by men and women, who symbolically rises out of the sea to appear before the aging eyes of Shunsuke, the novelist. Completing his last work, Shunsuke is determined to form the beautiful natural youth of Yuichi into a work of art, to take the natural weaknesses of youth and ""make them something stronger, like death."" Grooming Yuichi to consider his adorers as mirrors; to avenge Shunsuke's disappointments by treating women as objects--the author's work seems to be successful. But Yuichi, enmeshed in many homosexual affairs, married coldly to lovely Yasuko, is shocked into the ability to see rather than be seen only, and he admits the ""normal"" emotions. But parallel to Yuichi's way, is Shunsuke's growing love for him. Shunsuke admits that ""Love is born of nothing less than hopelessness"" and dies peacefully content in the opposition of spirit and nature. Mishima's characters are memorable: the narrative, although spongy with many-chambered moralistic musings, is immaculate: the visual images are breathtaking. While caught up in an occasional blooper like ""yeah"" and ""big shot"" Alfred Marks, the translator, bears up nobly. In all a unique reading experience, worth the respectful attention this demanding work requires.