Book Review – The Temple of the Golden Pavilion by Mishima

I didn’t like this book when I first read it, which was thirty years ago.

Of course things change over time and one is a new appreciation of Mishima.

Saying that, let’s not dwell too much on Mishima the personality as the controversy which surrounds him deflects from his talent as a writer. And he really was a fantastic writer.

Buy the book here: The Temple of the Golden Pavilion

Yukio-Mishima-Book-Review

The Temple of the Golden Pavilion is actually a fairly straightforward story.

It’s loosely based on the burning of the Golden Pavilion of Kinkaku-ji in Kyoto by a young Buddhist acolyte in 1950.

The pavilion, built before 1400, was a national monument that had been spared destruction many times only to be burnt down by Mizoguchi.

Mizoguchi, ridiculed and rejected because of his stutter, becomes obsessed with the temple and its bronze phoenix. A second, equally fascinating character is Mizoguchi, who though club-footed, uses it to manipulate and control others.

What impressed me most about the book, on the second reading, is how Mishima holds your hand and takes you down the sad, misunderstood, and doomed character of Mizoguchi. I don’t think I had the patience for this as a teenager.

From one angle, the destruction of the temple is not the central topic (or tragedy) in this novel, but the corruption and destruction of Mizoguchi’s values and beliefs. Despite his actions, you can’t feel anger towards Mizoguchi but sympathy as you witness how circumstances and people crushed him.

temple-golden-pavillion-after-fire

Copyright: www.tofugu.com

Mishima’s talent is an ability to demonstrate the gradual disintegration (or development, depending on your interpretation) of one’s personality and values. The prose is crisp, understated, and precise. Some of the imagery is remarkable.

If you enjoy Graham Green, Henry James or Joseph Conrad, you may want to get a copy of this. It’s not chocolate and roses but maybe that’s the attraction.

Learn more about The Temple of the Golden Pavilion

Background information, context, and bibliography : The_Temple_of_the_Golden_Pavilion

New York Times special feature on Mishima http://www.nytimes.com/books

Paul Schrader’s movie about his life http://www.theguardian.com/

If you’ve read it, let me know what you think below.

Thousands of templates to jump start your project

Acceptance Test Plan

Contingency Plan

Software Development Templates

Acquisition Plan

Conversion Plan

Software Requirements Specification

Action Plan

Cost Benefit Analysis

Software Testing

API Documentation

Database Design

Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)

Audience Analysis

Datasheet

Statement of Work

Availability Plan

Deployment Plan

System Administration Guide

Bill of Materials

Design Document

System Boundary

Business Case

Disaster Recovery Plan

System Design Document

Business Continuity

Disposition Plan

System Specifications

Business Plan

Documentation Plan

Technical Writing Templates

Business Process

Employee Handbook

Test Plan

Business Requirements

Error Message Guide

Training Plan

Business Rules

Expression of Interest

Transition Plan

Capacity Plan

Fact Sheet

Troubleshooting Guide

Case Study

Feasibility Study

Use Case

Change Management Plan

Functional Requirements

User Guide

Communication Plan

Grant Proposal

Verification and Validation Plan

Concept of Operations

Implementation Plan

White Papers

Concept Proposal

Installation Plan

Work Instructions

Configuration Management Plan

Interface Control Document

Software Development Templates

Acceptance Test Plan

Maintenance Plan

Software Requirements Specification

Acquisition Plan

Market Research

Software Testing

Action Plan

Marketing Plan

Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)

API Documentation

Needs Statement

Statement of Work

Audience Analysis

Operations Guide

System Administration Guide

Availability Plan

Policy Manual

System Boundary

Bill of Materials

Project Plan

System Design Document

Business Case

Proposal Manager Templates

System Specifications

Business Continuity

Proposal Template

Technical Writing Templates

Business Plan

Quality Assurance Plan

Test Plan

Business Process

Release Notes

Training Plan

Business Requirements

Request for Proposal

Transition Plan

Business Rules

Risk Management Plan

Troubleshooting Guide

Capacity Plan

Scope of Work

Use Case

Case Study

Security Plan

User Guide

Change Management Plan

Service Level Agreement (SLA)

Verification and Validation Plan

Communication Plan

Setup Guide

White Papers

Concept of Operations

Social Media Policy

Work Instructions

Concept Proposal

Contingency Plan

 

Configuration Management Plan

Conversion Plan