The dawning of a young man's homosexual and sadistic desires.
There is in this world a kind of desire like stinging pain'
A Japanese teenager is overcome with longing for his male classmate. He imagines his body punctured with arrows, like the body of St Sebastian in the painting that obsesses him. Over and over again, each night in his private fantasies, the objects of his lust are tortured, killed and maimed. But, in the rigid world of imperial wartime Japan there is no place for such transgressive desires. He must wear a false mask and hide his true nature, whatever the cost.
“A terrific and astringent work of beauty”
The Times Literary Supplement
“Mishima is lucid in the midst of emotional confusion, funny in the midst of despair”
“Never has a "confession" been freer from self-pity”